Pack your torch: Museums at Night kicks off in a month

It’s just one month to go until the UK’s biggest annual late night festival of art, culture and heritage, Museums at Night, opens, when hundreds of museums, art galleries and heritage venues all over the country will be opening late and putting on a rich selection of night-time events.From bands playing in museums and contemporary art, to unique literary events, sleepovers in palaces and city-wide culture crawls: events will give visitors the chance to explore heritage on their doorstep after dark.

The programme includes Liverpool’s annual LightNight, which sees 90 of the city’s cultural spaces and venues opening late with trail of free exhibitions, installations and events. An exclusive slumber party will take place at Kensington Palace in London, as well as the chance to Sleep Like A King at Hampton Court Palace.

In the South East, Brighton Museum and The Great Escape Festival, will be partnering for the first time this year. The museum’s gallery spaces will be transformed by a series of unplugged performances from a range of Great Escape artists.

And writer Will Self will be in conversation at the Writers’ Centre in Norwich for a special Museums at Night talk, in partnership with the Norfolk and Norwich Festival of Ideas. See the full listings for Museums at Night and follow #MatN2013 on Twitter.

Celebrating our heritage in new and exciting ways

Lauren Laverne, Ambassador for Museums at Night said:

Museums at Night weekend is a fantastic opportunity for museums and galleries to get together to put on events that allow us to celebrate our heritage in new and exciting ways – perhaps discovering a cultural gem on our doorstep that we didn’t even know existed.’

Attracting new audiences

Museums at Night, led by Culture24 and funded by Arts Council England, is designed to encourage new audiences into museums and galleries.

More than 121,000 visitors attended Museums at Night 2012, with well over 500 cultural events taking place across the UK. Over 43,500 Museums at Night visitors were new to the venues that they visited while 5,000 had never been to an arts or heritage venue before.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said:

‘Every year, Museums at Night gets even more ambitious, and this year is no exception. What a brilliant line-up of events, with such a variety of things to do.

‘Museums at Night is a fantastic way of opening up museums and inviting people in who perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily come, and showcasing exactly what museums are brilliant at – aiding knowledge in fun and enjoyable ways!’

Connecting artists with museums and galleries

As part of Museums at Night, Connect10, a contest to match 10 major artists with 10 museum and gallery events, was opened earlier this year. Venues pitched their ideas, more than 30,000 members of the public cast their votes to select their favourite choices among the proposed ideas.

Events will include The Freud Museum hosting Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed for a talk giving an insight into his artistic practice, interspersed with live musical performances.

In the South West, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery won the vote to secure the services of Gavin Turk, for an evening of storytelling, conversation and visitor participation linking ancient and modern Egypt. See the full list of events.

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