Monthly Archives: January 2011

Guest post: Enhancing a screening with music, props and werewolf claws

In the latest guest post on the Museums at Night blog, Claire Kirk describes how the Museum of London, Docklands created an American Werewolf in London night!

A photo of a hairy hand in a specimen jar

A grisly werewolf hand was among the props Claire's team created

Last year we had a fantastic turn out for our Museums at Night event: an American Werewolf in London screening at the Museum of London Docklands.  Alongside the screening we opened our galleries to the public, our amazing gallery host Dave Matthews ran gallery tours, and we had a bar serving drinks, popcorn, hot dogs and pick’n’mix (proper cinema fare!).

American Werewolf is a great cult film that really brought in the crowds.  The adult events team had loads of fun putting together a werewolf-themed play list (Werewolves Of London, Warren Zevon; I Was A Teenage Werewolf, The Cramps…), making fake specimen jars, attaching ravens to the museum staircase and constructing enormous ‘full-moon’ lanterns (which were cleverly recycled into Christmas baubles for our Festive Fair later on in the year!).

A photo of people eating popcorn and growling at the camera

Visitors with popcorn getting into the werewolf spirit

This time around we’re hoping to attract the same attention with another film screening, The Rime of the Modern Mariner. It’s a documentary about a subject very close to the museum’s heart: life on the docks, and London’s relationship with the sea.  Written and directed by Mark Donne, narrated by Carl Barat (the Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things) and with a beautiful score by Anthony Rossomando (the Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things and the Klaxons), it’s a stunning film and a must-see for any Londoner who has ever looked out over the Thames and wondered about London’s great seafaring history.  After the film, Director Mark will be talking to Brian Nicholson, one of the ex-Dockers featured in the documentary.

So at the moment I am organising the catering (always complicated in a listed building!) and planning what additional activities we might run on the night but, so far, it’s shaping up to be a great night out!

A photo of a woman smiling

Claire Kirk

Claire Kirk is the Adult Events Programme Manager for the Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands.  She says, “For me, the best things about working at the Museum of London are our wonderful fashion and photographic collections, and, of course, working with a great team of people who are as enthusiastic about the museum and the capital as I am.”

Write a guest post for the Museums at Night blog!

A photo of a lit-up castle reflected in the sea at night
Castle Cornet in Guernsey will be coming alive for Museums at Night 2011
We’re very lucky with this blog – we have lots of readers who work in the arts and heritage sectors, who really value not just the marketing and promotional ideas that the Culture24 team share here, but also the “back-channel” the blog provides for people from the sector to share their tips and success stories.

Recently, I’ve had a couple of guest writers who were so inspired once they began writing blog posts that they ended up creating in-depth articles so comprehensive that I’ve featured them as useful resources on the main Culture24 website.

Jo Willis from Kew Bridge Steam Museum wrote this guide to staging family-friendly ghost tours, while Teresa Fox-Wells from Borough Museum, Newcastle-under-Lyme wrote this case study about making the most of your volunteers’ talents to deliver a successful event.

I’ve been speaking to lots of people from all over the UK about their plans for Museums at Night, and learning about events and examples of teamwork which sound so exciting that I’m already commissioning more guest blog posts for this year. Do you have a story to tell about event planning or marketing which you’d like to share?

You can see all our previous guest posts here: – as you can tell, writing a guest blog post can be a great way to talk about your venue and celebrate the work your team does.

The idea is to showcase lots of different voices, passing on marketing and event planning ideas to inspire other venues who may be considering participating in Museums at Night in future. Perhaps you could share how you planned and marketed your Museums at Night event last year, or any tips about things that went well, and ideas for aspects you might do differently in future. Alternatively, have you been to an amazing event in a museum, gallery or heritage site at night – and if so, what made it special?

Guest blog post requirements

I’ll need you to send me:

  1. 200-350 words, written in a chatty, friendly, style
  2. A couple of photos of visitors exploring your museum, gallery or heritage site, ideally at night, with the photographers’ credit. We love to share photos of people having fun at cultural and heritage venues!
  3. A couple of lines about yourself – I’m happy to link to your website, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile etc.
  4. A thumbnail-sized photo of you
If you have any questions, please give me a call on 01273 623336 – and watch this space for all kinds of guest posts, starting next week!

Run a Future Shorts screening for Museums at Night

International short film label and creators of the acclaimed Secret Cinema, Future Shorts are offering museums across the UK a unique opportunity to be part of a simultaneous cultural event.

Culture24 have teamed up with Future Shorts for Museums at Night to offer a special package connecting audiences across the country in a shared celebration of community and experience. This event offer is completely voluntary and open to any venue that is interested and able to host it.

Future Shorts will programme, license and distribute the official FS ONE selection to participating venues. The official film selection includes the best shorts from around the world in a 70-80 minutes programme, which in recent months has featured directors such as John Hillcoat (the Road) and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), alongside a selection of the most exciting new filmmakers.

Whilst principally a film showcase, each venue will be encouraged to be make their event much more; fusing live music, performance, art, fashion and other interactive mediums to celebrate international creative culture.

Participating venues will receive…

•License to the official FS ONE April film programme

•Full digital film delivery

• Access to an online “Twitter Wall” that connects audiences in different cities through social media

•Marketing & Media Pack, including designs, programmes and press releases

•Event setup guide and support

The programme is delivered digitally online or on DVD if that is not possible. As a minimum each site must have or hire-in projection and audio equipment to support the show. Each venue is free to charge whatever they feel appropriate to cover the costs or make money from the event.

Culture24 will gauge interest in this offer with the aim of signing-up at least four venues. If you are interested in hosting a Future Shorts production contact Nick Stockman on 01237 623279 or email

New offer from Nick Stockman: Culture24 comes to you!

As the new boy on this campaign I can’t help but be impressed by the excitement and positivity that surrounds Museums at Night, and the extent to which cities and towns embrace it. When I learnt that some towns’ offers include free bus tickets and meal deals with local restaurants, it became clear to me that this event really takes off when multiple venues within an area combine to offer extra value.

A group of smiling people around a table in a gallery at night

A group of friends share ideas at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art during Museums at Night last year

So we thought, wouldn’t it be useful if we took some case studies out and about to encourage more towns and cities to do similar things? We will bring our knowledge of how things work in key areas to help any other towns and cities that may be thinking of ‘clustering’ – staging events at multiple venues on the same night – how this strategy can work. It really does help to maximise audience numbers and profile and bring down costs.

Rosie and I will visit your venue to explain:

  • event planning ideas
  • what’s worked well for other cities in the past
  • how to register and promote your events
  • and basically answer any questions you may have in one go.

All you need to do is arrange for at least 5 venues in your area to attend the afternoon, and provide a room with basic facilities – oh, and a cup of tea would be grand too!

With the first deadline to register your event details drawing near (Friday 21st January to be included in our press releases to long lead magazines) and so many exciting partnerships and promotional opportunities happening this year, don’t hesitate to take us up on this offer!

Contact Rosie Clarke on 01273 623336 ( or Nick Stockman on 01272 623279 ( to find out more or book your session today.

Yes, you can charge an entrance fee for your Museums at Night event!

A couple of venues have spoken to me recently saying that they’d like to stage a Museums at Night event, but are concerned that they won’t cover their costs. Fear not: it’s OK to charge for tickets to your event! I thought I’d take a bit of time to explain how this works in more detail.

A photo of two men in costumes and masks

Costumes from the Wild Boys Ball held at Kensington Palace

The idea behind the Museums at Night campaign is to attract new visitors to discover all the exciting arts and heritage attractions on their doorstep. Because you’re trying to draw in people who don’t necessarily know what to expect at your museum, gallery or historic house (and perhaps you have specific target audiences you want to appeal to), we suggest that you don’t price entry tickets so highly that they put passers-by off. You know your local audiences far better than we do, so you’ll probably already have a good idea of what your target audience will be willing to pay. And don’t forget, people who’ve paid for admission may visit for longer, so they feel they get their money’s worth.

Equally, when you register your Museums at Night event details in the Culture24 database, you need to use your 100 word description to sell your event and make it sound exciting – something that’s worth paying a few pounds to experience. Will there be access to artefacts or rooms that aren’t usually on display? Is there going to be a special talk, tour, or opportunity to get hands-on led by an expert? If you’re running a show, a screening, or showcasing live music, you may like to throw in something extra that adds to the perceived value, e.g. free popcorn or a free glass of wine or soft drink included in the price of an entrance ticket.

The charity Kids in Museums ( has produced a guide to pricing flexible family tickets, which may be useful: you can find out more here

Are there any other questions you’d like answered on the blog? Feel free to ask me in the comments, or to email

First deadline: Friday 21st January for glossy magazine publicity!

It’s great to see more than 20 Museums at Night events already in the database so soon after Christmas! Already, it’s clear that lots of places are opting for a spooky theme – kicking off the weekend on Friday 13th gives an easy hook to promote these events!

A cartoon of spooky happenings during a museum sleepover

A spooky museum sleepover - still taken from Henry & Isabel Lambourne's animation, A Spooktacular Night

We’d love to help every museum, gallery and heritage site that wants to participate to get as much publicity as possible, and we’ll soon be sending press releases and event listings out to the media.

So, if you know what you’d like to do for your Museums at Night 2011 event over the weekend of Friday 13th – Sunday 15th May, now’s the time to enter the event details into your record on the Culture24 website. If you do this by the end of the day on Friday 21st January, your events will be part of our initial PR push into glossy women’s, local interest, travel, history and heritage magazines.

Need some inspiration? There are suggestions for events you could run at your venue here, case studies from successful Museums at Night events last year here, and a step-by-step guide to adding your events into the Culture24 database here.

If you need a reminder of your login details, simply fill in this form:
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your plans, please contact me on 01273 623336 or email

Finally, stay tuned – next week we’ll be announcing not only a major media partner for the Museums at Night campaign, but we’ll also be revealing the identity of our new celebrity ambassador!