The eighth in our series of guest posts comes from Laura Crossley, a Project Officer at Norwich Heritage, Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART).
When I hear the words ‘Museums at Night’, my heartbeat increases, butterflies appear in my stomach and my knees go weak. I’ve fallen in love with the campaign. Why? Let me explain…
1) Working together
Together, we can co-ordinate dazzling collections of creative city-wide events. Places like Norwich, Stockport (website live from 14th April), Bath and Newcastle are hosting such events this year, and I’m sure other locations will follow suit in the future.
The campaign also allows us to help each other out. Venues who cannot run events this year should take a lead from Greater Manchester Police Museum and Archives. Although they can’t take part, they’re still helping to distribute copies of the BBC History Magazine’s Guide to Museums at Night. Non-sector individuals and organisations can also get involved. For example, the University of Manchester’s Volunteering Team offered their services to organisations involved with Museums at Night in Manchester.
This distinctive, highly publicised campaign is an excellent reason to try something new. Here at the Norwich Guildhall, the HEART team are organising a children’s sleepover involving mock trials, storytelling and even a bit of time travel back to 1839! Never having attempted an event like this before, we’ve climbed a steep learning curve, but now our confidence is sky-high and we’re excited about running similar events in the future.
The night-time setting is a brilliant opportunity to concoct an event making visitors view us in a completely new light. Spooky themes are fun, but there are many more options. Take a look at the Museums at Night pages and you’ll find a sensational smorgasbord of events to whet the appetites of wide and diverse audiences.
4) New audiences
The unique events we’re co-ordinating are helping our buildings get noticed by people who have never visited before. Our sleepover is attracting a new generation of people to the Guildhall who we hope will keep visiting in the future, and tell their family and friends about the fantastic experience they had.
5) Spreading the love
Advocacy is one of the hot topics of the moment in our sector. Rightly so I say, as telling the world how great we are is something we all have to do. One of Museums at Night’s biggest strengths is its ability to help us shout about our sector, and the wonderful work we all do.
Individual Museums at Night events help raise the profile of our own organisations, which is vital, particularly in the current climate. More importantly, the campaign helps us work together to build affection for our sector as a whole. It’s up to Culture24, museums, heritage sites and individuals to continue this work so people everywhere continue to fall in love with us.
Laura Crossley is a Project Officer at Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART). She’ll be starting to write her own blog for HEART’s SHAPING 24 project soon. Laura’s background is in history, interpretation, informal and formal learning and audience development. You can connect with her at http://uk.linkedin.com/in/laurafcrossley.
Thanks very much, Laura! If you’re inspired to write a guest post for us too, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.