Work with an artist on a Museums at Nightclub!

It’s been a busy summer of evaluation, looking in detail at responses to the Museums at Night festival from participating venues and the public.

We have consistently received feedback from venues that have taken part in the Connect10 competition (and those that haven’t) that they would value more opportunities to work with artists, and to connect with new audiences through artist-led events.

And we’ve found an interesting way to offer just that opportunity…

Culture24 is seeking expressions of interest from all types of arts and heritage venues in a new project called Museums at Nightclub. Based on the successful festival template of after-hours events with an audience development objective, this new initiative springs from our evaluation of the Connect10 project.

A silent disco dancefloor

Young people flock to the dancefloor at MOSI (c) Chris Foster

The Museums at Nightclub will be an artist-led, touring event series produced by a consortium of venues in conjunction with Culture24, taking place in areas with low engagement in the arts. It will feature artists who specialise in participatory arts events, and who have worked on the Connect10 project in previous years.

We are developing a proposal to submit to Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Programme involving a partnership with the participating venues.

Venues from anywhere in England may express an interest but preference will be given to those identified by the Taking Part Survey (2008 – 2010) as being in the 118 local authority areas in the country with the lowest level of engagement in the arts.

Would this work for your organisation? Find out more: take a look at the Taking Part Survey list to check your local authority’s status and download our 3 page information pack about the Museums at Nightclub project, schedules and finance.

We want this stage of the project to be developed in partnership with the participating venues, so please do come to us with your ideas and suggestions!

If you have any questions or just want to talk through some ideas, please contact: Nick Stockman (01273 623279, nick@culture24.org.uk) or Rosie Clarke (01273 623336, rosie@culture24.org.uk).

Freelance project administrator job: help deliver Museums at Night in North Norfolk

Project Administrator freelance role for North Norfolk Stories

Museums Norfolk, the membership organisation that supports museums and heritage sites across the county, is seeking a freelance Project Manager to deliver North Norfolk Stories, a two-year project funded by a £75,800 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

North Norfolk Stories will establish an annual, large-scale and free Museums at Night event in North Norfolk that will be self-sustaining when the project is completed.

A sunset scene of boats pulled up in a village

Fishing heritage in Sheringham, North Norfolk (c) David Kirkham, Fisheye images

Twenty-one partner organisations, including museums, libraries and heritage sites are involved. Key to the project is that it aims to engage more people with heritage, as both participants and visitors, and will provide training for young people in valuable employment skills. It also includes an education programme for schools, reading groups in libraries, opportunities for volunteering, and mentoring and skill sharing between partners.

The post holder’s role is to support the freelance Project Manager to develop and deliver this project during 2014-16. They will also work closely with the Museums Norfolk Development Manager and Museums Norfolk Committee.

This is freelance job so the post holder will mainly work from home. They can therefore be based outside Norfolk as long as they’re able to travel to Norwich and North Norfolk for meetings.

If you’re interested in the role and would like the full job description and person specification, please contact Laura Crossley at northnorfolkstories@gmail.com.

Final call to get your after-hours events on sale in Boots and WHSmith!

If you took part in Museums at Night, regularly run after-hours events, or are simply interested in generating income for your organisation, this is your last chance to join Culture24’s Activity Superstore partnership promoting cultural gift experiences in museums, galleries and heritage sites.

Four boxes will be sold on the high street from the beginning of September in shops such as Boots and WHSmith.


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The Museum Lates box is dedicated to providing two adults with an enchanting, insightful evening in a museum or gallery. This could be anything from an in-depth tour of an exhibition, a talk or access to a workshop. This is a fantastic way for you to attract new audiences and generate income.

A number of brilliantly diverse venues are already on board, including the Art Fund Museum of the Year, Yorkshire Sculpture Park; the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings; and the Museum of Carpet.

These boxes are most commonly brought as Christmas presents, so it is vital for you to get involved as soon as possible.

Act S Lates Box

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is Activity Superstore?

Activity Superstore provides a range of gift experiences, sold in attractive gift boxes in high street stores. The boxes contain a booklet and a code that customers can use to book their experience on the Activity Superstore website. Examples of boxes that are already being sold are Traditional Afternoon Tea for Two, Ferrari Driving, Two Night Camping Experience and Vineyard Tour and Tasting for Two.

2014-Salamander Box-ForgottenSkills

What will venues gain from being involved?

It is a fantastic way to attract new audiences and gain revenue from your events. The whole project is also a really exciting way of attracting individuals who might not often chose to visit museums and galleries. With exposure in several high street outlets such as WHSmith and Boots, Activity Superstore is a great opportunity to get your name and your brand out there in front of high street consumers.

What does your venue need to do?

For each box that you choose to be involved in, you need to offer four or more activities between January 2015 and December 2015. You can either offer four or more of the same event, or four or more different events; it is totally up to you.

What about events that are already open to the public?

These are fine. If you are including events that are already planned, you could perhaps include some special element like a cup of tea and cake in your café, a voucher for your gift shop, or a special welcome from a curator or guide.

How do box sales and event bookings work?

Each will be sold in shops: customers will choose one experience from a range of venues throughout the UK.

Each time the box is bought and two adults visit your late event, you will invoice Activity Superstore for a share of the money.

Activity Superstore’s experienced team take care of the bookings, and will make the logistics as hassle-free and profitable for you as they can.

2014-Salamander Box-Inside Art & Design

What other boxes are available?

  • Inside Art and Design – anything art/design related, such as an in-depth curators tour/talk (2 adults).
  • Forgotten Skills and Traditions – anything history-based, for example workshops about traditional crafts or activities (1 adult).
  • Curious & Creative Kids – anything for under-12s e.g. children’s crafts/activities (a family of up to 1 adult and 3 children – doesn’t need to be for this many people so long as we know).

Any other questions?

If you are interested in taking part or have any other questions about the boxes and how it all works, please contact Culture24’s Rina Lakhani on 01273 623357 or email rina@culture24.org.uk

We look forward to working with you and helping you to make money and attract new visitors.

Guest Post: Laura Crossley reviews Jessica Voorsanger at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe

Our latest event review guest post comes from Laura Crossley, a Heritage and Audience Development Consultant and friend of Museums at Night who discovered other worlds at 20-21 Visual Arts in Scunthorpe!

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Saturday night TV is rubbish. What, therefore, is one to do to avoid National Lottery In It To Win It and endless repeats of Come Dine With Me? (Yes, being a mere mortal, of course I like Come Dine With Me but, no, I do not feel the need to watch ten episodes a day). On Saturday 17 May, the answer to that question came in the glorious form of 20-21 Visual Art Gallery’s Sci-Fi evening.

The event, for which we have to thank the brilliant minds of the 20-21 staff and multimedia artist Jessica Voorsanger, was a frenzied explosion of everyone’s favourite Sci-Fi programmes – Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who and more, with a sprinkling of Men in Black, mixed with several hundred rolls of tinfoil and flashing disco lights, all topped off with raucous space-themed karaoke – think Venus, Walking on the Moon, Spaceman, Girl From Mars, Space Oddity; you get the picture.

The silhouette of a figure in a suit standing in a doorway in a cloud of dry ice

Jessica Voorsanger silhouetted at the entrance to 20-21 Visual Arts (c) Know Media

The evening started with a life-affirming Men in Black parade with sharp suits, shades and serious dance moves rocking the streets of Scunthorpe.

The party then moved indoors to the kitschly (I’m claiming that as a word) decorated 20-21 Gallery where staff in fabulous space attire led an array of interactive activities.

a boy in front of a tardis with a colourful paper arm

A young visitor stepping out of the Tardis with a new bionic arm

As an avid fan of silliness, my favourite activities were dressing up in a Star Trek costume and being photographed in a neon space landscape, and sitting in a chair whilst lots of small furry balls, made by the local community, cascaded onto me from on high. The latter activity was a homage to much-loved Star Trek episode, The Trouble with Tribbles, in which the Enterprise is overrun by tribbles, purring balls of fluff which multiply at rapid speed.

A girl surrounded by small fluffy objects

A young visitor experiences a Tribble trouble avalanche (c) 20-21 Visual Arts

There was life drawing with Jedi light sabers…

handmade pink light sabers

Light sabers at 20-21 Visual Arts

There was sci-fi karaoke …

Visitors could even stage a Dalek attack!

a small boy menaces his parents with a dalek

Family dalek drama (c) 20-21 Visual Arts

It seems that the answer to Saturday night TV boredom might lie somewhere in a galaxy far, far away…..or more probably at a stupendous gallery in Scunthorpe.

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a woman smilingLaura Crossley is a Heritage and Audience Development Consultant and PhD Researcher. Her website is www.lauracrossley.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @lfcrossley.

 

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Thanks, Laura!

If you’d like to write a guest post or share a case study about any aspect of audience development, event planning or marketing in the arts and heritage sector, please email rosie@culture24.org.uk.

Case study: How Wardown Park Museum attracted over 1000% more visitors than usual

Our latest case study guest post comes from Ellen Waghorn, Event Programmer at Wardown Park Museum in Luton.

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Wardown Park Museum took part in Museums at Night 2014 aiming to engage with new audiences and find new ways to use our spaces. We are a small museum with a collection relating to the history of Luton including Luton’s role in the hat-making industry past and present.

Two men wearing fancy hats and drinking beer in a museum after hours

Visitors show off their hats (c) Wardown Park Museum

We decided to separate our day and night events to focus on family and adult audiences.

‘Mad Hatters and Alice in Wonderland’, our daytime event, created something fun but educational that linked to our collection. We used outside space to increase capacity and had flamingo croquet and a rabbit hole crawl. We provided seating and catering bringing in secondary spend.

Inside the museum we created a trail (also charged), that focused on engaging children with our collections. Additionally, one of our volunteers ran an exhibition that  looked at the origin of tea and the history of plants in Bedfordshire, using our collection of plant specimens.

‘Mad Hatters Late’  consisted of  keeping the museum open until  10pm, and  performances  from local musicians, held in a flexible gallery space. To maximise secondary spend, we acquired a temporary alcohol license, and to tie in with our collections everyone was encouraged to wear hats!

a shot from behind showing the heads of audience members watching a band perform

Museum visitors listening to a band (c) Wardown Park Museum

Success

Attendance of the events exceeded expectations with 1027 people on site for the daytime event and 107 in the evening. 953 people came through the doors to the museum on the day.

Comparing this to a normal Saturday which averages at 80, this was a fantastic 1091.25% increase.

We learnt…

1) …not to be afraid of ‘set dressing’ our museum. Far from taking away from our collections, it enabled  more enjoyment, and made  our audiences  think of us as a fun place to visit. Museums are not dull: they’re a good place to have fun!

2) Advertising was key to this event. We used local radio, flyer and poster distribution as well as social media platforms and our website.

3) Using arts as an activity to entice a new audience works. We have been trialing this through ‘Music in the Museum’, a monthly music concert, and the decision to include story telling and a concert was due to the success of this.

A museum entrance hall with visitors and hats on the floor

A range of hats were available for visitors to wear (c) Wardown Park Museum

In future…

…we plan to have less separation between our day and evening events, although we will continue to target our activities for families during the day and adults in the evening. We will continue to increase the opportunities for secondary spend to support the programme and increase financial viability.

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A photo of a woman smilingEllen Waghorn is the event programmer for the Museum Makers Team at Wardown Park Museum. Her aim is to programme events and activities that actively engage the community and encourages the incorporation of volunteers (Museum Makers) into event running and organisation.

Find her on Twitter as @elwaghorn and on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/ellen-waghorn/63/70a/1a4

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Thanks, Ellen!

If you’d like to write a guest post or share a case study about any aspect of audience development, event planning or marketing in the arts and heritage sector, please email rosie@culture24.org.uk.

Gallery

Culture Collaboration, Culture Rescue

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Originally posted on University of Cambridge Museums:
This year for the Museums at Night national event, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology hosted Manos Creadoras, or Creative Hands, a project organized by AndesCrafts and the Museum. AndesCrafts was created in…

Call for guest posts: share your event planning and marketing case studies!

Do you have a story to tell about how you planned or marketed an event at your venue? Have you taken advantage of Museums at Night to try out a new way of working, or to stage a different type of event, or to bring in a new element?

Singers watched by a crowd in a modern museum

Janette Parris’ musical performed in Cardiff Story Museum (c) Klaus Wehner

Writing a reflective case study can be a great way to talk about your organisation and celebrate the work your team does. You can see examples of previous guest posts here: http://museumsatnight.wordpress.com/tag/guest-post/

This writing opportunity is open all year round to anyone who works or volunteers in an arts or heritage organisation.

A pack of scouts in a museum

Adur Valley Scouts ready for their first ever museum sleepover at Worthing Museum & Art Gallery

The idea of publishing guest blog posts is to showcase lots of different voices from museums, galleries and heritage sites, passing on marketing and event planning ideas to inspire other venues who may be considering taking part for the first time.

  • Do you have any tips for other venues based on your experiences?
  • What worked well?
  • What have you learned – e.g. about your own capacity, about timings, about the most and least successful forms of promotion, about what different audience most appreciate?
  • What would you do differently next time?

A good guest post consists of:

1) 300-400 words, in a chatty, friendly style
2) A couple of photos of visitors exploring your venue, ideally at night, with the photographers’ credit. We always like to put up photos of people having fun at cultural / heritage venues!
3) A couple of lines about yourself, I’m happy to link to your website / Twitter account / LinkedIn etc.
4) A thumbnail-sized photo of you

If you’re interested in writing a guest post, or if you have any questions, please drop me an email at rosie@culture24.org.uk or give me a call on 01273 623336.