London Museums at Night 2011

Friday 25, March 2011


London Museums at Night 2011


Museums at Night, the annual after-hours celebration of arts, history and heritage, will take place this year over the weekend of Friday 13th to Sunday 15th May.


From the splendours of London’s V & A to the tiny Glenesk Folk Museum North of Angus in Scotland, from Ruthin Gaol in Wales to Newlyn Art Gallery in Cornwall, hundreds of museums and galleries across the UK will be opening their doors at night for gallery gigs, twilight film screenings, theatre shows, midnight murder mysteries, all-night sleepovers, torch-lit tours and much more. Tying in with the European event La Nuit des Musées, Museums at Night will be offering the chance to experience a whole array of fantastic museums, cultural venues and historic houses once the sun goes down.


BBC 6 Music and 10 O’clock Live presenter Lauren Laverne is the Ambassador for Museums at Night. She explains “Museums at Night is a fantastic initiative that really makes museums and galleries accessible, fun and interesting. There are countless great events going on over the Museums at Night weekend - I can't wait to sample some of them."


There are some really special events being lined up for 2011, many of which are rarely on offer to the public. Perhaps inspired by Museums at Night’s Friday 13th kick off, there are spooky events aplenty: spend a “Night At The Cemetery” and tour the grand monuments and dark paths of Bristol’s Arnos Vale Cemetery by torchlight; travel underground for an adults only paranormal exploration of the UK's most popular 'Ghost Hunting' venue, RAF Holmpton; sleepover in the “Old Smithery” at The Historic Dockyard in Chatham, Kent; or listen to gruesome stories and live re-enactments of “Surgery By Gaslight’ at the Old Operating Theatre, the oldest surviving operating theatre in England.


For arts lovers, renowned theatre group, The People Show, will be putting on a live multi-media experience at The Pumphouse Gallery in London; or for musical night with a difference, listen to a beatbox choir and the gospel sounds of Denise Jones set to the backdrop of the acclaimed Mary Kelly retrospective, part of Manchester’s FutureEverything Festival at The Whitworth Art Gallery; there will be a Renaissance night of revelry, music and art at London’s National Gallery; or experience the dazzling spectacle of the Enchanted Palace exhibition at Kensington Palace after dark.


There are plenty of Retro themed evenings being put on for Museums at Night: the National Media Museum in Bradford will be transporting you back to the 1950’s, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain with fashion shows, live swing band, jive dancing lessons, make up artists and retro cinema; rediscover a love of vinyl at The Biscuit Factory in Ouseburn at special evening celebrating the art of the vinyl record sleeve; dress up in 1920’s black and white for The Shed Silent Movie Night in Gateshead, where you can visit the Cinema for One, drink cocktails or create your own blockbuster in the handmade Hollywood film studio; spend an evening with Sylvia Anderson, creator of cult series FAB, with original models from the TV series, 60’s music and giant version of childhood games at London’s Royal Airforce Museum; or channel your inner geek at a 1980’s Bedroom Programming Night at The Computing Museum, Swindon, where resident experts will guide you through the process of creating your own dream game.


Several cities will be staging a variety of events in multiple venues. Newcastle & Gateshead will be hosting The Late Shows, the biggest Museums at Night event, with a free culture crawl with over 25 venues opening their doors and putting on events, while Liverpool will be running it’s Light Night – a one night celebration of arts and culture in Liverpool on Friday 13th. A whole host of galleries in Birmingham will be opening up late for Galleries Night and a free art bus will links venues including Ikon, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and mac, while there will be more city-wide excitement in Bath, Stockport, Dorchester and Northumberland.


Museums and heritage sites all over Scotland will be putting on some really special events for their Festival of Museums, also part of Museums at Night. Events include a Fishtastic Festival in the Highlands, celebrating the areas’ rich fishing history; there will be the chance to create your own folk legend and book of fairytales at the Glenesk Folk Museum or become part of living history at an outdoor concert at Temple Wood Stone Circle at Kilmartin Glen for the Sounding The Stones event. Details of all events in Scotland can be found at


Museums at Night have also teamed up with International short film label Future Shorts, in a collaboration that will see museums and galleries up and down the country take part in the global short film festival Future Shorts ONE. Venues will screen the official FS ONE film selection, which includes 70 – 80 minutes of the best short films around. Recent programmes from the monthly festival have included directors such as John Hillcoat (The Road) and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind), as well as up and coming talent from around the world.


Museums at Night also offers the chance to experience some of the UK’s most beautiful historic houses as they take on new dimension at night, lit by candlelight, with chandeliers twinkling. Coughton Court in Warwickshire, Apsley House, No.1 London and Harewood House in Leeds are just some of the houses participating for 2011.


The fully searchable Museums at Night website is the place to explore and discover unmissable events aimed at all audiences and interests.  


Sky Arts is the proud Media Partner of Museums at Night 2011. They will broadcast a documentary as part of their Sky Arts At… media partnership series, which offers a unique behind-the-scenes insight on the weekend’s activity. The documentary will appear on Sky Arts 1 HD in May and also be available online at


Museums at Night 2011 is organised by not-for-profit arts organisation Culture24 and backed by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), who have been instrumental in supporting the campaign since its inception and continue to be the major funders. Other partners include DCMS and VisitEngland, along with new funders Arts Council England and partners the Historic Houses Association and the Arts Marketing Association.


For details of all venues, events and activities visit, where listings information will be continually updated right up until the weekend itself.



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