Our latest guest post comes from Emma Wood, who explains how North Lincolnshire Museum planned and ran their first ever Museums at Night event last year.
North Lincolnshire Museum organised their very first Museum at Night on May 14, 2010. Usually the museum closes at 4pm, so for one night only we decided to stay open until 8pm. Promoted as a family fun event, we dressed up the museum with a spooky theme and organised three different ghost hunts around the museum’s galleries and grounds.
We offered free glow sticks to every child as they arrived, and arranged the ghost tours for organised groups. Six Rainbow groups booked onto these tours, along with many other children visiting with their parents.
Feedback was positive and visitors commented on how much they enjoyed the event, especially being able to watch an episode of Relic: Guardians of the Museum on DVD once they had taken part in the ghost tour. In addition to our free ghost trail sheets, we also promoted and sold a lot of spooky merchandise and haunted local books from the gift shop.
Julie Holmes, a visitor from Bottesford, commented: ‘My children have really enjoyed tonight’s event, the ghost tours were fun and this place looks so different at night so it’s really been exciting for them.’
On a usual half term day (10am-4pm) we can get up to 100 children in the museum, so we were delighted with our Museums at Night visitor numbers: during 5pm and 7pm we counted 281 visitors, of which 179 were children. It was lovely to be part of a campaign that created national interest in a fun way!
This year we intend to build on the success of our 2010 event and involve more museum staff in our Spooky Family Fun Night, so that we can deliver some more free activities as part of the evening.
Emma Wood is Visitor Service Manager at North Lincolnshire Museum.