Museums at Night is over for another year – and wasn’t it amazing? The campaign which has been consuming our every waking thought for months finally culminated in an action-packed weekend of discovery and delight: on Friday, Saturday and Sunday around 457 events took place at 352 venues. This is absolutely fantastic – to stage over 100 more events than last year, in a time of such economic difficulty, is a resounding endorsement of the campaign.
London Canal Museum tweeted, “Museums at Night has been a tremendous success at London Canal Museum, we have had hundreds of visitors!” The Museum of English Rural Life was equally delighted: “Great atmosphere tonight! MERL hasn’t seen anything like this in 60 years! Thanks to the amazing dancers who’ve entertained us!!”
Mew Lab animation projected on to the front of Watford Museum's 18th century facade. Picture courtesy Dave Parker.
We would like to thank all the staff and volunteers from museums, galleries, libraries and heritage sites who staged events – it’s wonderful working with such inspired and imaginative people, who are passionate about bringing their collections to life in new ways. I hope that the capacity-building legacy of the campaign will last throughout the year. If you ran a Museums at Night event this year, please tell us how many visitors came, and how the experience was for you by filling in our venue survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/53KPJ9C
2011 will be the most successful year of the campaign so far – members of the public found it easier than before to find events in their area, and all the visitor feedback we’ve received so far has been incredibly positive. @HelenDuffett tweeted: “Loved it! Went to @ltmuseum and Bank of England Museum. Great initiative!” Meanwhile, @NorwichChamps rejoiced: “Standing on the tower of St John’s Catholic cathedral in Norwich as part of the Museums at Night event. Huzzah!”
If you went to a Museums at Night event, please let us know what you thought by filling in our brief visitor survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/visitorsurveyMuseumsatNight2011
Project manager Nick Stockman and I would like to thank all the hardworking Culture24 staff who helped the campaign to come together, in particular the ever-resourceful Larna Pantrey-Mayer and Ruth Harper. Stephen Bradley built the Museums at Night event-finding widget, while Richard Moss, Ben Miller and the rest of the editorial team wrote numerous articles promoting the campaign. Signe Troost has been a diligent and cheerful campaign intern, while Cath Hume, together with Tom Windsor and Pam Jarvis from Sussex Arts Marketing, are now working on the campaign evaluation.
We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of media coverage Museums at Night received this year: congratulations to all the venues who got local publicity, and to PR coordinator Pandora George of Bullet PR, who worked incredibly hard to arrange national and regional press, radio and TV coverage.
Thanks to the staff of BBC History Magazine, and everyone who distributed the printed Guides to Museums at Night. We also appreciate the work of photographer Pal Hansen, our photoshoot locations the Horniman Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, and our fabulous models.
Two of our models discover masks after dark at the Horniman. Image (c) Pal Hansen
We’re very grateful to all our campaign partners for their support: campaign funders the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and Arts Council England; media partner Sky Arts; Visit England; the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; Future Shorts; the National Trust; English Heritage; the Historic Houses Association, the Arts Marketing Association; the Festival of Museums; the Museums Association; and the National Museum Directors’ Conference.
Sky Arts kindly subsidised sleepover tickets at 5 venues around the UK, while Future Shorts curated a short film programme that ran at 11 venues. We’re very grateful to these partners, and hope to collaborate on similar opportunities in future.
Campaign ambassador Lauren Laverne not only spoke movingly about Museums at Night at the launch event, but also penned an enthusiastic article about the campaign for Grazia magazine. Thanks to Historic Royal Palaces and the Kensington Palace staff, WILDWORKS Theatre Company and Blue Strawberry Catering for making the launch such a success!
We’re also very grateful to our competition partners Faber & Faber and the Faber Archive; the Victoria & Albert Museum; Erin O’Connor; Historic Royal Palaces and Lucy Worsley.
I’d like to thank everyone who wrote inspiring guest posts for this blog, connected with us and sent encouraging messages on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and who phoned the office or sent emails to ask me questions about things that I hadn’t made clear. I’d also like to thank Jacqueline Chiffert and the Nuit des Musees team for their encouragement – and my friends and family for their patience!
Finally, Sky Arts sent camera crews to record the action in ten different venues which were staging Museums at Night events: they’re currently editing the footage down to make a 30 minute documentary, which will premiere on June 3 2011 on Sky Arts 2 at 6:30 pm. Watch the trailer here!