Museums at Night’s Rosie Clarke at Museums Showoff

As we count down to Museums at Night – there’s less than a month to go now! – Campaigns Manager Nick and myself are doing all we can to spread the word about all the excitement in store over the big weekend, 18 – 20 May.

Nick’s been interviewed by the Independent, while I’ve spoken to Scout London and TNT, and will soon be blogging about our plans for the Huffington Post.

However, when the opportunity came up to speak at an event in Camden called Museums Showoff, the stars aligned!

A magenta poster advertising the first ever Museums Showoff

It’s this Wednesday, April 25th at 7pm, at the Camden Head pub on Camden High Street.

Entrance is free, but the organisers suggest making a donation of around £5 to their charity of the month, Arts Emergency, http://www.arts-emergency.org/ who campaign to make arts and humanities degrees accessible to people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The evening will involve 10 people from the world of museums enthusing about their latest projects / discoveries … including me!

Meet the speakers and their passions:

Terence Eden – QRpedia.org is a brilliantly simple way to link museum exhibits to Wikipedia. It’s cheap, easy to use, and works on any camera phone.

Brian Macken – Called the ‘Dead Zoo’ by generation of Dubliners, the Irish Natural History Museum is a unique place. It has benefited from a kind of benign neglect, where for a very long time it ran on an annual operating budget of two ham sandwiches and a packet of stamps; but this has left it as a wonderful ‘museum of a museum’ which has stood basically unchanged since the late 1800s. Brian is going to tell the story of the Dead Zoo, covering the Irish war of independence, incorrect monkeys, an expedition to rescue a drunk, choking eels, collapsing stairs, Stanley, Dr Livingstone, Fitzroy and the biggest antlers you’ve ever seen in your life.

Dinosaur Planet – MJ Hibbett (and Steve) present extracts from their rock opera about space dinosaurs, giant robots and the value of effective literature reviews. WARNING: features The Hornpipe

Gordon Cummings – I’ll tell how a small group of enthusiasts brought an abandoned Victorian gallery back to life, and created the North West Essex Collection, now acknowledged to be of national importance. From opening with a few loaned pictures in 1987, we now have over 900 works by north west Essex artists, including, Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious, John Bellany and Keith Vaughan, and 900 members of the Fry Art Gallery Society: this has been achieved with no core funding and no paid staff.

Subhadra Das – An Introduction to UCL’s Pathology Collections. Or, Why Russell Brand Should Never Be Let Near Any Museum Collection; Ever.

Gemma Angel – 19th century French criminologist Alexandre Lacassagne once described tattoos as ‘speaking scars’. Working with the Wellcome’s collection of 300 preserved tattooed human skins, Gemma Angel will be talking about what these objects may say to us today, as she explores the photographic archives of Paris and Lyon for clues in the search for their origins.

Rosie Clarke – 100,000 happy visitors can’t be wrong! It’s less than a month till the Museums at Night festival explodes into life at museums, galleries and heritage sites across the UK – but what’s it all about, and how does it come together? Discover quirky event highlights (and stories of behind-the-scenes hijinks) from Culture24′s marketing coordinator Rosie Clarke.

Ayla Lepine – A few days ago, 16 teenagers were unleashed in the Victoria and Albert Museum armed with nothing but a pencil and a burning ambition to become the next Norman Foster. This is the (precisely 9 minutes long) tale of how an eccentric architect/writer/sculptor from Texas with incredible taste in shoes and an academic/curator/experienced standup comedian (no, seriously) from Vancouver corralled these feisty youths and and transformed them from hopefuls into pros in a single Saturday.

Catherine Walker – Come and see a selection of handling objects from Wellcome Collection’s permanent galleries, such as a shrunken head, a strand of DNA and a model of a human brain!

Steve Lloyd – Bringing digital content into physical spaces. Steve Lloyd from ico design will show and tell how they put responsive signage in The Science Museum & an internet enabled industrial robot in the Houses of Parliament.

We did have reanimated museum philanthropist Henry Wellcome booked in to perform, but he has sadly fallen in love and is too busy “pining, sighing and swooning” to join us. Go see @Henry_Wellcome on Twitter for details.

I’d love to see any Museums at Night blog readers there – if you come along, please do say hello to me!

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