Rosie Clarke, Museums at Night Project Coordinator shares her excitement for the coming weekend’s festivities.
As a lover of museums, galleries and heritage sites I’m in my element coordinating the Museums at Night campaign, which takes place this weekend from Friday 13th – Sunday 15th May. For three years now, Culture24 has been running this annual weekend of late openings and special evening events (funded by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and the Arts Council), which aim to attract new audiences and raise the profile of the UK’s fantastic arts and heritage sectors.
The campaign is a terrific success; in 2009 there were 157 events, attracting 34,000 visitors and the following year there were 345 events which drew 85,000 visitors. This year, we have 346 venues on board, there are almost 450 events to choose from and we expect at least 100,000 people to go to an event!
As Project Coordinator I work with venues which are considering putting on an event, encouraging them to make the most of their collections and to harness the skills of their volunteers and resources they already have – to offer something special to attract new audiences.
What will you visit?
I also edit a behind-the-scenes blog about the campaign and recent guest posts include the stories behind the RAF Museum’s Thunderbirds night, the Museum of the Isles on Skye and their Bring a Piece of History community event, and how one dynamic person created a Museums at Night piratical experience in Sheringham, Norfolk (the latter post should be read in a pirate accent!).
For 2011 there are an amazingly creative range of Museums at Night events on offer; from sonic screwdriver designing at the John Rylands Library’s Doctor Who event in Manchester, to the chance to sleep overnight in tunnels from World War II at Porthcurno Telegraph Museum in Cornwall. In Dorchester, a £6 family ticket will give free access to seven heritage venues, while at the Old House Museum in Bakewell you can meet codebreaking women who worked at Bletchley Park during World War II.
Tomorrow morning ITV’s Daybreak will be reporting live from Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower in Gosport (which I’ll be up early to tweet about as @Culture24). Sky Arts will also be making a behind-the-scenes documentary to capture the excitement of the weekend.