Across three exciting nights in May (15-17), everyone will all have the chance to venture into museums, galleries and heritage venues ‘after dark’ as they open their doors for Museums at Night – a nationwide festival of inspiring after-hours arts and cultural events.
The festival, which is run by Culture24 and supported by public funding through Arts Council England, starts on Thursday 15 May and runs through to Saturday 17 May. This year will see more than 500 venues all over England host events and activities.
The Museums at Night campaign ties in with its European equivalent – La Nuit Des Musées – which takes place on 17 May 2014 creating a European-wide celebration of arts and culture. In contrast to its European counterpart, Museums at Night is spread across three nights in the UK giving venues greater flexibility in the programming and providing audiences with more opportunities to get involved.
Museums at Night offers people the opportunity to explore museums they already know and love, but in a new light; or to discover a museum or venue that they have never encountered before. It represents a really important part of audience development for the arts and culture sector and helps to introduce people to the inspiring wealth of arts and heritage venues that we have in England.
Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle have embraced the ideas behind Museums at Night and developed a city-wide approach to the concept. All events taking place across the Liverpool area can be found on the Liverpool Light Night website and for the first time this year Manchester’s events have been branded as Manchester After Hours. Newcastle’s The Late Shows was the first to join up venues across a city and is the largest Museums at Night event in the country.
There will be a broad range of activities across the North, for example you can explore what life was like in wartime Britain at Stockport Air Raid Shelters, enjoy a Steampunk playground at Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery or see the English National Ballet perform Second Breath at the IWM North. You can sleep with the dinosaurs at Scarborough’s Rotunda, the William Smith Museum of Geology, take a virtual trip to outer space at the BALTIC or a musical romp through Liverpool’s history from St George’s Plateau to the Bluecoat. The V&A Museum of Childhood Magic Worlds exhibition can be seen at Great North Museum: Hancock, you can explore alternative histories at People’s History Museum. York Museums Trust or sample the 1930s décor by candlelight Mount Grace Priory in Northallerton.
A significant part of Museums at Night is Connect10, which pairs up leading contemporary artists with venues across the country to create ten very special events. Each artist’s partner museum was chosen by the public through an online vote that saw more than 62,000 votes – venues across the country set out their bids for artists and rallied their audiences to vote for them! Connect10 is supported by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts programme. There are three successful venues across the North: the Yorkshire Museum will host an in conversation with Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry; American artist Jessica Voorsanger will host a sci-fi karaoke evening at the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe and Manchester’s National Football Museum will host Matt Pyke whose digital agency Universal Everything is creating a giant sculptural projection, called Transformer that will react to the voices of its visitors
For more information about events planned near you, visit the Museums at Night website and enter your postcode.