Tag Archives: event

Team Museums at Night meet Neil Gaiman

We love working in partnership with all kinds of organisations to help make the Museums at Night festival a success, and for the last few years we’ve collaborated with the Reading Agency to connect authors with arts and heritage venues for exciting after-hours events.

Nick and I were delighted to be invited along to their annual lecture at the Barbican this week, given by one of my favourite authors, Neil Gaiman. He gave a compelling description of the value of libraries, with examples from his own life, and the importance of reading – you can read the full text of his lecture here.

A very excited lady meets a suave chap

Meeting author, book-lover and all round hero Neil Gaiman

It was amazing to meet the man himself afterwards – and also to talk to all kinds of authors, publishers and librarians, and to hear about the diverse types of events that libraries run all year round.

two handsome men with a book

In a blur of excitement, Neil Gaiman signs a book for Nick Stockman

Thanks to the Reading Agency for inviting us along: we’re looking forward to working together on even more exciting collaborations for Museums at Night 2014!

Calling Welsh venues: free Museums at Night briefings in Cardiff and Wrexham

A man and woman smiling in a garden

Museums at Night project manager Nick Stockman gets a tour of Birmingham venue, Winterbourne House & Gardens

Following the success of our free briefing sessions in London, Birmingham and Bradford, where Nick and I discussed taking part in the Museums at Night festival and entering the Connect10 competition with lots of museums, we’re delighted to announce that we’re coming to Wales!

Working together with the Audience Development Team at All Wales Libraries, Archives & Museums (Llyfrgelloedd, Archifau ac Amgueddfeydd – Cymru Gyfan), we’ll be delivering two further briefing sessions in North and South Wales later this month.

These free morning sessions are open to staff at all Welsh museums, galleries, libraries, archives, historic buildings, heritage and sacred sites and cultural institutions.

Interested in taking part in Culture24’s Museums at Night festival and/or entering the Connect10 competition next year? Then come along to one of our free, friendly and focused sessions:

Wednesday 23rd October, Wrexham Museum & Archives, 10am-1.30pm

Thursday 24th October, The Cardiff Story, 10am-1.30pm

Museums at Night is the annual after-hours festival showcasing the arts and heritage sector, which each year offers a great audience development opportunity. Connect10 is the competition that gives ten venues the chance to win an artist-led event and £2,000 as part of the festival.

Find out about the benefits and challenges involved in hosting an after-hours event, the advantages in working together with other venues and what it takes to be a Connect10 winner.

Learn how to organise a group of venues to take part in the festival, and what it’s like to host a top artist from the people who have done it before!

There will be plenty of opportunities to meet and chat with colleagues from your region, and refreshments and a complimentary lunch will be included on both days.

To claim your free place on one of these workshops, simply sign up below.

Wrexham briefing, Wednesday 23 October – https://museumsatnightwrexham.eventbrite.co.uk/

Cardiff briefing, Thursday 24 October – https://museumsatnightcardiff.eventbrite.co.uk/

We look forward to meeting you!

Sesiynau gwybodaeth Amgueddfeydd yn y Nos – agored i staff holl amgueddfeydd, orielau, llyfrgelloedd, archifau, adeiladau hanesyddol, safleoedd treftadaeth a sanctaidd a sefydliadau diwylliannol yng Nghymru!

Oes gennych chi ddiddordeb mewn cymryd rhan yng ngŵyl Amgueddfeydd yn y Nos, Culture24 ac/neu roi cynnig ar gystadleuaeth Connect10 y flwyddyn nesaf? Dewch draw i un o ddwy sesiwn gyfeillgar a phenodol yng Ngogledd a De Cymru ym mis Hydref 2013.

Gŵyl flynyddol y tu allan i’r oriau arferol, yw Amgueddfeydd yn y Nos. Mae’n arddangos yr adran gelf a threftadaeth sy’n cynnig cyfle gwych i ddatblygu cynulleidfa bob blwyddyn. Connect10 yw’r gystadleuaeth sy’n rhoi cyfle i ddeg lleoliad ennill digwyddiad dan arweiniad artist a £2,000 fel rhan o’r ŵyl.

Dewch i ddarganfod mwy am y manteision a’r sialensiau sy’n rhan o gynnal digwyddiad y tu allan i oriau gwaith, manteision cydweithio gyda lleoliadau eraill a beth mae’n ei olygu i fod yn enillydd Connect10!

Cewch ddysgu sut i drefnu bod grŵp o leoliadau yn cymryd rhan yn yr ŵyl a sut brofiad yw croesawu artist amlwg gan y rhai sydd wedi gwneud hynny o’r blaen! Bydd digon o gyfle hefyd i gyfarfod a sgwrsio gyda chydweithwyr o’ch ardal chi.

Darperir lluniaeth a chinio bwffe am ddim.

Wrecsam: https://museumsatnightwrexham.eventbrite.co.uk/

Caerdydd: https://museumsatnightcardiff.eventbrite.co.uk/

September behind the scenes update

If you’ve been away on holiday, welcome back!

C24 Towers is alive with excitement at present. Nick and I are really chuffed that so many of you are keen to come to our free Museums at Night / Connect10 briefing sessions at the end of the month – which will now feature artists who took part in Connect10 in May sharing their experiences.

Briefing session update

The London session on Monday 23 September is now fully booked, but you can join the waiting list here.

There are still some free places available at the Birmingham briefing session at Winterbourne House on Thursday 26 September and the Bradford briefing session at the National Media Museum on Friday 27 September.

Let’s Get Real conference

LGR hotspot

We’re looking forward to Culture24′s conference in our home town of Brighton on 16 September, Let’s Get Real: an honest look at digital change. Meet the speakers and see the full programme, and find out more about the Action Research Project which forms the background to the new report we’ll be launching.

Find out who else is coming and get yourself a ticket here: https://letsgetreal2013.eventbrite.co.uk/ - and if you come along please say hello! I’ll be handling the front of house, and Nick will be stage managing.

Rosie’s Heritage Open Days highlights

Finally, I was asked to pick out my top ten unusual museum events from the Heritage Open Days programme, but it simply couldn’t be done – there are so many intriguing happenings to choose from over the 12-15 September!

From cult leaders to windpumps and tea parties through the ages, here are my Top 14 unusual museum highlights from Heritage Open Days.

Connect10 artists to speak at Museums at Night briefings

We are delighted to announce that in addition to the expert speakers joining the Museums at Night team for our jaunt round the country in late September spreading the good word about Museums at Night and Connect10, we’ll also be joined by three of the artists who took part in the 2013 festival: Richard Wentworth, Julian Wild and Julia Vogl.

Richard Wentworth at Whitworth Art Gallery for Museums at Night 2013 (c) David Oates

Richard Wentworth at Whitworth Art Gallery for Museums at Night 2013 (c) David Oates

On Monday 23 September we will be joined at the Jewish Museum in London by Richard Wentworth CBE, sculptor and academic who worked with Manchester’s Museum, Art Gallery and the Whitworth Gallery on a joint project to curate visitors’ collected objects for Museums at Night 2013.

A man speaks to a large crowd in an art gallery

Richard Wentworth welcomes visitors to the Whitworth Art Gallery for Museums at Night 2013 (c) David Oates

Richard has played a leading role in New British Sculpture since the end of the 1970s. His playful approach to using everyday and found objects reinterprets them and breaks conventional systems of classification. His Museums at Night event in Manchester invited visitors to think about curatorial and classification issues within the context of their own possessions. The event also featured an entertaining coach journey between the museum and the gallery accompanied by costumed interpreters. We are honoured to have Richard along on what is sure to be a fascinating session.

Book your place at the free London briefing session here: http://museumsnightlondon.eventbrite.co.uk/

On Thursday 26 September, Birmingham University’s Winterbourne House site welcomes artist and sculptor Julian Wild.

A man and two children make a large sculpture out of white pipes

Julian Wild and young visitors collaborating on the Making the Connection sculpture for Museums at Night (c) Enginuity

Julian lit up Ironbridge Gorge’s Enginuity venue during Museums at Night when he brought half a kilometre of plumbing pipe for visitors to play with!

Julian had spent hours painting the pipes with light sensitive paint so that once the visitors’ skeletal-like abstract construction was completed and the lights turned off the piece glowed, a bluish hue bringing to mind a ghostly shipwreck. We look forward to hearing more about Julian’s long nights in the shed with a paintbrush!

Book your place at the free Birmingham briefing session here: http://museumsnightbirmingham.eventbrite.co.uk/

The last leg of our autumn odyssey reaches Bradford’s National Media Museum on Friday 27 September where we will be joined by Anglo-American ‘social sculptor’ Julia Vogl.

A flyer containing instructions for participating in an art event

Instructions for Julia Vogl’s participatory social sculpture (c) Nick Stockman

For Museums at Night 2013, Julia worked with visitors to the Discovery Museum in Newcastle to collect 2,500 empty plastic bottles. On the night visitors were asked to choose a piece of coloured paper matching the regional location they most identify with and pop it in one of the bottles. The bottles were then strung together to create a structure resembling a giant jellyfish hoisted around the central chandelier of the venue’s Great Hall.

Julia is dedicated, articulate and entertaining so the visitors to the northern session are in for a treat!

Book your place at the free Bradford briefing session here: http://museumsatnightbradford.eventbrite.co.uk/

We’re confident that everyone coming along to the briefings will get something new and interesting out of them, so if you haven’t already, sign up to book your free place now – we look forward to meeting you!

Those booking links once more:

London briefing session, Monday 23 September http://museumsnightlondon.eventbrite.co.uk/

Birmingham briefing session, Thursday 26 September http://museumsnightbirmingham.eventbrite.co.uk/

Bradford briefing session, Friday 27 September http://museumsatnightbradford.eventbrite.co.uk/

Team Museums at Night on the road: join our Connect10 briefings!

Nick and I are delighted to announce that we’re going on the road this September! We’ll be delivering three free briefing sessions sharing our learning from the Connect10 competition, alongside people from venues who have actually won and worked together with Connect10 artists.

A man and woman looking exceptionally professional

Stockman and Clarke – travelling the land spreading the word about Museums at Night

Are you interested in taking part in the Museums at Night festival and/or entering the Connect10 competition next year? Come along to our free, friendly morning briefing sessions: they’re for anyone working in a museum, gallery, historic house or other cultural institution, whether or not you’ve run a Museums at Night event before.

Museums at Night is the annual after-hours festival showcasing the arts and heritage sector, which each year offers great audience development opportunities. Connect10 is the competition that gives ten venues the chance to win an artist-led event and £2,000 as part of the festival.

Find out about the benefits and challenges involved in hosting an after-hours event, the advantages in working together with other venues and what it takes to be a Connect10 winner!

Learn how to organise a group of venues to take part in the festival, and what it’s like to host a top artist from the people who have done it before! Plus there will be plenty of opportunities to meet and chat with colleagues from your region.

We’re grateful to the Arts Council for subsidising the cost of these briefings, so they will be free to attend. There are 45 places available on each day, and we hope to welcome as many people as possible to the South, Midlands and North.

The three sessions are:

LONDON: Monday 23 September, at the Jewish Museum, 9:45 – 13:00

BIRMINGHAM: Thursday 26 September, at Winterbourne House, 9:45 – 13:00

BRADFORD: Friday 27 September, at the National Media Museum, 9:45 – 13:00

Click through to book your place! We look forward to meeting you.

More feedback from Museums at Night 2013

Artwork with silver song lyrics on wood

‘Song (Be Bop)’, 2013, Silver leaf on wood (c) Susan Forsyth. Part of a new series of works by Connect10 artist and Zusammen choir leader Susan Forsyth, inspired by commemoration and song

We’re loving finding out more about how Museums at Night 2013 went for all the participating venues, visitors and participating artists, and we’re currently looking at responses to our venue and visitor surveys. Here’s some of the feedback we’ve received.

One reflective quote recorded before the event at Scunthorpe’s 20-21 Visual Arts Centre conveys the excitement behind the scenes of their very unusual conceptual art happening, created by artists Cullinan Richards:

It’s brilliant how everyone has come together on this from an initial idea. Most of the boxing club have never visited us before or are even interested in art and none of us knew much about boxing rings but are now learning fast as well as the history of disco lighting. It’s a bizarre collision of worlds!

The crashed cars are still happening as well and will be a nice statement piece before you enter the building.

And these are some of the most extraordinary risk assessments I’ve ever done.

This is a great photo story from the British Postal Heritage Museum Store.

Blogger Crumbolina had never managed to visit Bristol’s SS Great Britain before … until their Museums at Night event

The Beast in the Cellar: Benjamin D. Brooks shares the talk he gave about paleontologist Mary Anning at Lyme Regis Museum’s after-hours event.

A group of young people smiling in front of paintings

Art students at Corinium Museum after hours (c) Corinium Museum

Corinium Museum was “invaded” with contemporary art by University of the West of England students, and reported:

We were really thrilled with the response from visitors. Even when a piece wasn’t to their taste, it sparked comment and conversation. A number of visitors said the new look to galleries made them look at the collections in a different and more focussed way and caused them to notice objects they hadn’t seen before.

Emily Beeson, Culture24 intern and editor of Young Gold Teeth, wrote about getting hands-on making her own artworks as part of the National Portrait Gallery‘s Edgar Heap of Birds Museums at Night late opening. 

Blogger Sarah gave 10/10 to the experience of watching ‘Goodbye Lenin‘ in the unusual setting of York’s Cold War Bunker.

And finally, Gladstone Pottery Museum‘s night of music and spoken word poetry in their historic kilns come to life in this video:

If you have photos or stories to share from a Museums at Night event, please send them across to rosie@culture24.org.uk.

It’s Elemental: Team Culture24 take on the UCL Museums at Night treasure hunt!

The Museums at Night Festival was in to its second day. The staff at Culture24 had taken on bats, community sculpture and cocktails. Representing Culture24, Jack, Holly and Amy were preparing for the real challenge; attempting to win the UCL Museum treasure hunt.

The event started at 6:30 in a small lecture theatre, taking our three treasure seekers back to their University days. The winners of this year’s event would be rewarded with the prize of £40 in Foyle’s vouchers; a great way to encourage eager museum book worms and bring out a competitive spirit.

The task was simple; the C24 team had to race around the four UCL Museums, seeking the answers to clues. Ultimately, the answers would give them an anagram and a set of numbers. Once they solved the word puzzle, they would have a phone number, which once rung, would win them the treasure hunt.

C24 team started on their travels round the four museums trying to solve the clues at each site. When they came to the Petrie Museum they found the clues notably harder. The difficulty was increased by the fact that there were several red herrings.

treasure hunt

Team C24 puzzling over the clues at the UCL Treasure Hunt

Everyone had been instructed to report to the Grant Museum promptly at 8pm for the final part of the hunt. The room was packed with teams attempting to work out the anagram, gesturing wildly at the taxidermy with their pencils.

“Treasure map! Tyrannosaurus!” Amy squeaked excitedly, causing a slight tremor in the bat skeleton behind them. From over the crowd, a wine glass shattered, and one of the museum staff jumped. “I hope that was a glass and not a jar of…anything” she said, gaily.

Suddenly, from behind the ape skeletons leaned insouciantly on the upper railing a phone rang out. Despite their valiant efforts to get all the clues right, C24 had been narrowly beaten by another team.  But they all agreed over a lovely glass of Zoology Museum wine that they had thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Museums at Night 2013 has begun!

After long anticipation Museums at Night has finally arrived! We are very excited to see some amazing pictures coming through on Twitter from people getting involved in events, exhibitions and performances across the UK.

Fantastic Owls at last nights Museums at Night event #MatN2013 Thank you to all who braved the weather! (c) Oxford Museum

Our own reporters have been racing across the country. Rosie Clarke spent last night in Lancashire, singing along with Susan Forsyth’s  Zusammen Choir while Amy Strike spent her Thursday night detecting bats at Hatchlands Park. Ben Miller, Nick Stockman and Sejul Malde visited the Horniman Museum to see rAndom International’s installation, and Ruth Hazard enjoyed an exclusive night behind the scenes at the Faber and Faber Archives.

light installation

The Horniman Museum

Tonight the Culture24 interns, along with Jack Shoulder will be dashing around the Grant Museum of Zoology for the UCL Treasure Hunt, while Richard Moss will be in the Brighton Toy and Model Museum examining trains.

Nick Stockman will be on the way up to Newcastle tomorrow to take part in Julia Vogl’s giant art installation, while Jane Finnis will be joining the Chapman Brothers at the Jerwood Gallery. Meanwhile, Anra Kennedy will be making a Great Escape to Brighton Museum, and Amy will be curled up in Brunel House’s Midnight Apothecary, recovering with a cocktail.


Creative mask making and papercraft at Tullie House last night at #MatN2013 @thecommonpeople

If you are looking for a Museums at Night event to go to there is still time!

You can find out more about the hundreds of events happening over the next two days here.

We look forward to hearing about your Museums at Night adventures!

Guest post: Sarah Power brings steampunk to Norwich’s Dragon Hall

On the eve of Museums at Night 2013, Sarah Power describes the inspiration behind her plans for the steampunk event at Norwich’s Dragon Hall.


Dragon Hall is a unique Grade 1 listed medieval trading hall dating from around 1430, renowned for its spectacular timber crown-post roof and intricately carved and painted dragon.  It’s located on Norwich’s historic King Street which has seen, and still sees, most of life.

A ceiling hall of wooden beams

Looking up at the beams in the Great Hall (c) Dragon Hall

So close to Connect10…

Our Museums at Night event In the Company of the Curious: Steampunk at Dragon Hall takes place tomorrow night – Thursday 16 May. It will see the culmination of a whirlwind few months for our museum. After the shock of losing by 5 votes in the Connect10 competition to the wonderful Manchester Museums, I have been working hard to develop an utterly unusual alternative evening for our visitors.

Anachronistic inspiration

We are lucky to have a tireless team of volunteer researchers who are slowly discovering and revealing more details about the history of the Dragon Hall site. One of their recent research projects has been an investigation into the census from 1841 to 1911 to find out more about the people that lived on this site during that period.

As Norwich’s population grew, so did the need for low-cost housing. This was solved by dividing the once-grand houses into tenements and filling the yards at the rear with poor quality housing. Dragon Hall was one such building, and the group’s research revealed fascinating insights into the people who lived and worked in the squalid environment of King Street.

But what if…?

Museums at Night is a wonderful opportunity to create an evening of interesting and alternative events which it would be difficult to present during the day-to-day opening of our museums. This is where ‘Victorian Steampunk’ popped to my mind!

A man wearing a steampunk outfit and dark glasses

An example of steampunk style

This fascinating all-inclusive subculture has taken the UK by storm in the past few years. It’s broadly inspired by the industrialised Western civilization of the 19th century, but set in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use.

A sinister Victorian man with a cane, riding crop and top hat

See a darker side to Dragon Hall for Museums at Night

Visually fascinating, morally delightful and philosophically optimistic, Steampunk has it all and with the freedom to explore the era in a creative way, I couldn’t resist putting on a Steampunk evening here at Dragon Hall.

A woman sitting at a table with candles

Army of Mice will be performing live at the steampunk night

The evening is packed full of Steampunk delights including a Victorian peepshow, live bands, a fireplace feature film, parlour games, live poetry and interactive performances, tea duelling and much much more!

A poster of musicians in animal masks

The Familiars: just part of Dragon Hall’s exciting lineup

We look forward to welcoming a colourful crowd for our Museums at Night steampunk evening: find out more and book tickets here.


A blonde woman smiling Sarah Power has worked in the heritage industry since graduating from the School of History at UEA in 2007. She was thrilled to become the Heritage Engagement Manager at Dragon Hall in 2010 tasked with taking the existing learning and volunteer programme forward. With a passion for learning for all, Sarah has developed an exciting education programme to promote innovative learning experiences and fuel the curiosity of all Dragon Hall’s visitors.


Thanks, Sarah!

If you’re reading this and you have an interesting story to tell or case study to share about planning or marketing after-hours events at your arts or heritage venue, I’d love to publish your guest posts as well. Please email rosie@culture24.org.uk.

Guest post: Nerys Williams on staging live music at Gladstone Pottery Museum

Just a few days to go till Museums at Night 2013 kicks off on Thursday 16 May! Our latest Museums at Night guest post is by Nerys Williams, who discusses Gladstone Pottery Museum’s first ever Museums at Night event. 


The sun setting behind a bottle shaped brickwork structure

The sun sets behind the bottle oven at Gladstone Pottery Museum.

We haven’t taken part in Museums At Night before and I’m busy planning our first ever foray into this new and exciting territory. This is thanks to a bursary from Culture24 for being runner up in the Connect10 competition, another first for me which had surprisingly wonderful results.

For some time I’ve been working with local artists who will be putting on a multimedia extravaganza at our site this September. They seemed the ideal people to help with an after hours event and are a fab bunch of creative, positive types who immediately set about planning something very special.

My humble (and fairly simple to carry out, but bang went that idea….) plans for an evening opening went out the window within about 30 seconds of our first meeting. ‘A Night At The Kiln’ quickly took shape and will be an evening of music, poetry, art and film on Thursday 16 May. Scores have been composed, the line-up grew and grew and it promises to be a really good ‘do’.

Brickwork buildings at night.

The iconic bottle oven at Gladstone Pottery Museum.

A trombonist will be playing in one of our bottle ovens. Iconic is a word so overused you can almost hear it creaking from the weight of hyperbole loaded upon it – but bottle ovens really do deserve this accolade. They’re huge, imposing brick structures once used to fire pottery. To have musicians playing a piece inspired by the pottery industry inside one is an exciting prospect. Coincidentally they also have ace acoustics.

Internationally renowned soprano Denise Leigh has kindly agreed to sing at the event – I’m still a little stunned by this! Putting an opera star under the stars at our site for Museums at Night was beyond my imagination (or contact list).

Along with piano, clarinet, harmonica, singing children and poetry there’s a lot of material in the programme written about our local heritage. We even have a ‘spit’ poet. Not being as ‘down with the kids’ as I thought I was, this had to be explained to me – for any others who are looking blank it’s a bit like rap. Local artist Rob Pointon will be painting it all as it happens.

It’s good for me to work with artists who put creative impact first and practical concerns further down the list. I do occasionally have to urge to stand on a table and demand lists and risk assessments in a matronly voice but our Museums at Night event is making me realise what can be achieved with willing partners.

I have vetoed the Chinese lanterns though. My worry that they’d land on something/someone causing a flaming fireball and blackening the museum’s name with metaphorical soot forever, was too much for me to bear. Even with my newfound fondness for the lovable but as-difficult-to-herd-as-cats art world, I have to draw the line somewhere!

A pair of hands painting a design on a piece of pottery.

An example of the pottery painting at Gladstone Pottery Museum.

 It’s back to the practicalities for me now, with press releases to write, posters to produce and a full on assault on social media to complete.

Come and join us! Tickets are £5 which includes a glass of wine or fruit juice, and can bought in person from Gladstone Pottery Museum or by calling 01782 237777. Doors open at 7.15pm.

For more information on Gladstone see www.stokemuseums.org.uk or our Gladstone Pottery Museum Facebook page.


Picture of a woman in glass and a hat.

Nerys Williams

Nerys Williams is the Audience Development Officer for Gladstone, is passionate about the site and fond of industrial heritage and cake. She plans and publicises events of all types, from the International Marquetry Exhibition to making Pigoons (balloon pigs) during half term. Nerys loves the variety of her job – she can be organising a book signing by a local author one day and discussing turning circles and timetables for a classic bus rally the next. Museum life is never boring.


Thanks, Nerys!

If you’re reading this and you have an interesting story to tell or case study to share about planning or marketing after-hours events at your arts or heritage venue, I’d love to publish your guest posts as well. Please email rosie@culture24.org.uk.