Monthly Archives: February 2012

Would you like an author to speak at your Museums at Night event?

Building on the success of our Museums at Night event package ideas (we’ve already had lots of responses to our sleepover subsidy opportunity), we’re delighted to offer UK museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites the chance to host an author for your Museums at Night 2012 event!

Culture24 has teamed up with some of the UK’s top publishing houses, via The Reading Agency, to offer venues the chance to work with authors on events for Museums at Night.

Hundreds of books, stacked in wine crates

Do your visitors enjoy books? Would they like to meet an author for Museums at Night? Image courtesy Jackie Kever, shared under a Flickr Creative Commons licence

A range of writers promoting newly published books are available for evening Q&A sessions or talks, followed by a book signing, during the weekend of 18th – 20th May 2012.

The publishers will not be asking for an appearance fee, but a contribution towards expenses may be negotiated under some circumstances.

Download the full list of available authors and information about their books here.

If you’re interested in running a Museums at Night event involving an author, please contact Nick Stockman at or call 01273 623279, telling him which author you’d like, by the end of the day on Friday 9th March.

NB. This opportunity was announced in our Museums at Night e-newsletter first thing this morning. Do you receive this e-bulletin, which includes news of partnerships and promotional opportunities your venue may like to take advantage of? If not, you’re missing out!

Could your venue run a Sky Arts-subsidised Museums at Night sleepover?

We’re pleased to announce that for the second year running, Sky Arts are the broadcast media partners of the Museums at Night campaign.

Following on from the success of last year’s subsidised sleepovers, Sky Arts are again offering financial support to help arts and heritage venues stage sleepovers over the weekend of Friday 18th – Sunday 20th May 2012.

A group of girls in sleeping bags next to a Roman bath at night

Bath Brownies spend the night at the Roman Baths, image courtesy Bath Museums

How will this work?

Sky Arts will subsidise a ticket buy, enabling museums, galleries and heritage sites to offer discounted sleepover tickets priced at £3 to the public.

So if your sleepover tickets would usually be priced at £15 each, you would receive £12 per ticket from Sky, and your visitors will only have to pay £3 each.

We’re not looking for definite commitment from venues at this stage – a sleepover takes careful planning and can involve numerous staff and volunteers. However, we’d simply like to gauge how popular this opportunity may be.

If this is something you would be interested in, please email me ( by the end of the day on Friday 9th March with your expression of interest, telling me the cost of your sleepover tickets and how many people you could host.

Useful resources:

Laura Crossley’s Simple Guide to Sensational Museum Sleepovers

Virginia Mayes-Wright’s Top Tips for Museum Sleepovers

Guest Post: Damon Waldock on Joan Miró after dark at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

 Today’s guest post comes from Damon Waldock, Programme, Events and Marketing Coordinator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield.


Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) took part in Museums at Night for the first time last year, offering visitors new ways to experience the park.

A glowing purple outdoor sculpture on a pole at dusk, next to a tree

Jaume Plensa, La Llarga Nit (Blind) 2010 © Jonty Wilde

We normally close at 5pm and many people do not get the chance to see the Park at night, so this was the perfect opportunity for visitors to see our exhibitions and outdoor work in a new light.

A child looking upwards at a large glowing white sculpture
Jaume Plensa exhibition in the Underground Gallery © Hannah Webster
 YSP provides a changing programme of exhibitions and projects, with a unique series of events throughout the year. The 2011 Jaume Plensa exhibition was one of YSP’s most successful to date, bringing record numbers to the Park and received an overwhelmingly positive response.
We held intimate late night Curator tours, including dinner in the Restaurant, and offered a rare opportunity to see his outdoor works Spiegel and La Llarga Nit beautifully illuminated in the landscape.
The sculpture La Llarga Nit has been lent to YSP by the artist on long-term loan and remains in the park, lighting up the night sky – so visitors to special evening events still have the chance to experience this work.
Other events last year included a talk in the historic Chapel with artist Rachel Goodyear and a torch-lit walking tour through the newly opened lakes and woodland, part of the landscape that influenced her 2011 project.
Landscape at Night with lights
Torch-lit walking tour through the newly opened lakes and woodland 2011 © Jim Varney

Ongoing events for 2012 include The Four Seasons, a series of performances in the Chapel by musicians and singers from Opera North, celebrating the changing seasons and Sunset in the Skyspace.

Created by American artist James Turrell, the Skyspace consists of a large square chamber with an aperture cut into the roof of the Park’s 18th century Deer Shelter. Through this aperture visitors experience heightened vision of the sky in a place of contemplation and revelation, harnessing the changing light of the Yorkshire sky.

This year we’re delighted to be taking part in Museums at Night once again: our event will celebrate our new exhibition of sculpture by Joan Miró. We’re inviting visitors again to join YSP Curators for a late night family-friendly tour of exhibition exploring the ideas of his “phantasmagoric world of living monsters” by the iconic Catalan artist.

A crafts table will be available for children and adults to make their own paper puppets and create their own shadow monster in the gallery. This unique and intimate family event is limited to 25 people per tour and costs £3 per person (which will helps cover the cost of running the event).

Feel free to bring a picnic and enjoy the grounds of the 500-acre open air gallery open late.

Children enjoying the Park in the early evening © Jonty Wilde

 Our marketing budget remains tight so we’ll be promoting the event on site, through print, web and E-news.

Miró: Sculptor opens on 17 March 2012. Find out more about our events at


A man in glasses
Damon Waldock

Damon Waldock is the Programme, Events and Marketing Coordinator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and has worked there since 2010 helping to organise a unique and diverse programme of events. Keep up to date with the latest news on YSP’s exhibitions and events at


Thank you Damon! If you’d like to write a guest post or case study for this blog about any aspect of event planning or marketing in arts or heritage venues, please drop me a line at or call me on 01273 623336.

Further tips on raising awareness from museums and galleries

This is the fifth in our series of posts highlighting how venues vying to win an artist in our Connect10 competition are raising awareness about the public vote among their local communities. If you’re involved in audience development or marketing, the ideas we’re sharing may be useful!

The three venues competing for installation artist and sculptor Susan Stockwell are Wolverhampton Art Gallery, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery.

Where will you send Susan for Museums at Night? Cast your vote here.

Elaine Lees, Communications Officer at Creativity Works reports on Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery‘s Connect10 publicity:

To drum up support we’ve taken a digital approach, mainly posting news stories on websites and using social networking and email to spread the word. Old friends and new are showing their support, and local newspapers and BBC Radio Lancashire have also encouraged people to vote.

News of our Susan Stockwell bid has appeared across the websites of Creativity Works, Artsmap, Blackburn Life, the local council Chief Executive’s blog, the council intranet, the Perspectives of Pennine Lancashire Visual Arts network and more!

Now we just need to enlist the help of the hundreds of thousands of Blackburn Rovers supporters…

Lucy Theobald, Marketing and Press Coordinator at the Fitzwilliam Museum, reports:

We’ve sent out a press release about our bid for Susan Stockwell, together with the bid of one of our partner museums: the Polar Museum are also in the running to win novelist Jon McGregor. Combining the two bids makes more of a story for local media: here’s an article that appeared in Cambridge News.

There’s a news story going out in our local paper, and we’ve also been pushing the story online through our social media channels, Twitter and Facebook.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery report:

We’ve also sent out press releases to the local media, and are raising awareness online through our own website, Twitter and Facebook.

We’ve also added a line about the competition into our email signatures, along with a link to the voting page!

Vote in Susan Stockwell’s Connect10 poll here on Culture24 – where will you send her?

The competition is open until Monday March 5th, and the winning venue will be announced on Tuesday March 6th.

More top publicity tips from arts and heritage venues attracting competition votes

This is the fourth post in our series for arts marketers highlighting what venues competing to win a top artist for Museums at Night are doing to reach out to their audiences. So far, it seems that press releases to local media combined with the use of social media and email newsletters are the most popular tactics.

The three venues competing for top taxidermist Polly Morgan are Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust in Bristol; Yorkshire Museum and Gardens, York and Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery & Museum.

Where will you send Polly for Museums at Night? Cast your vote here.

Kim Fisher, Visitor Services Assistant at the Victoria Gallery & Museum reports:

We’ve been using Twitter and Facebook heavily, and contacted our email list. We’ve also printed leaflets to put around the gallery for visitors to see.

Our Education Officer Kirsty has told her contacts at the universities, and teachers who may be interested.

Finally, all our admin staff have added a link to the vote into our email signatures!

Lee Clark, Media Co-ordinator at York Museums Trust reports:

We’ve contacted all our staff as well as our mailing list, and are also spreading the word through Twitter, Facebook and our blog.

We’re also concocting an idea for a photocall to capture the press’s attention – watch this space!
Felicia Smith, Public Engagement Manager at Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust reports:

We’ve sent out press releases and have lined up a joint interview with ss Great Britain (who are hoping to win jellymongers Bompas & Parr in Connect10) on Bristol Community Radio on Saturday. The aim is to get Bristol people voting for two amazing artists to be brought to the city, not just one!

We’ve shared our press release with our planned event partners M Shed / Bristol Museums & Gallery and WildOwl, and Bristol Natural History Forum who are our partners for the Bioblitz event happening the weekend after Museums at Night. If we win the Connect10 competition, we hope to use Arnos Vale’s wildlife to link these two free events together.

We’ve set up a webpage for competition news, and are using Twitter and Facebook: we’re really grateful that other local organisations are supporting us on their pages too.

Vote in Polly Morgan’s Connect10 poll here on Culture24 – where will you send her?

The competition is open until Monday March 5th, and the winning venue will be announced on Tuesday March 6th.

Top publicity tips from arts and heritage venues attracting competition votes

This is our third article highlighting the promotional work of the venues vying to win artists in our Connect10 competition – there are all manner of useful ideas for publicity and audience development emerging, many of which are cheap or free to do.

Three venues are competing to win installation artist and signpainter Bob & Roberta Smith: Eastbourne’s Towner Art Gallery; Leeds Art Gallery; and the Peace Museum in Bradford.

Where will you send Bob & Roberta for Museums at Night? Cast your vote here.

Gilly Clarkson, Marketing & Communications Manager at Towner, reports:

We sent a press release to local media, and have been promoting extensively through our Facebook and Twitter feeds and email list – as well as featuring the competition on the homepage of our website with a link straight to the voting page!

We’re proactively reaching out to all our visitors, especially during half term week and our Sunday family day. Plus we’ve been encouraging partners and supporters to spread the word on our behalf – for example Eastbourne Tourism and Visit Sussex (as we are the only Sussex attraction on the list).

Amanda Phillips, Education Officer at Leeds Art Gallery, reports:

Trying everything, I managed to raise our share of votes from 10% to 24% by emailing everyone I know (didn’t know I knew so many people!)

It has gone on to our Breeze Culture Network which is the main portal to teachers and group leaders interested in creative activity, and to our press/marketing contact within Leeds City Council, our website, and within the Gallery itself. These are all passive means of communication, but all that is available within protocol and resources. Happily our tweets are getting out and about!

Julie Obermeyer, Curate and Manager of the Peace Museum, reports:

We’ve done the following to promote our bid in the competition:

1) Tweeted about it on our Twitter account
2) Sent out an e-mail message to all our supporters
3) Wrote about it on our website
4) Promoted it on our Facebook page

Vote in Bob & Roberta Smith’s Connect10 poll here on Culture24 – where will you send him?

The competition is open until Monday March 5th, and the winning venue will be announced on Tuesday March 6th.

Connect10: How are London’s Ragged School Museum and the Museum of Soho competing for Terry O’Neill?

In our second article highlighting the promotional and outreach efforts of venues involved in the Connect10 competition, we look at the two London venues vying to win iconic photographer Terry O’Neill – the Museum of Soho and the Ragged School Museum.

Where will you send Terry for Museums at Night? Cast your vote here.

 Tony Shrimplin, Chair of the Museum of Soho, reports:

As soon as we heard we were finalists in this years Museums at Night Connect10 competition our trustees and volunteers swung into action. This is our first time and it’s going to be memorable!

We initially set about using our mailing lists letting Friends of the Museum, colleagues and associates know we needed their vote and for them to forward the info to as many people as they could, hopefully creating a snowball effect.

Social media has been key in getting our events promoted, we have a Twitter page and were able to announce we were finalists pretty quickly. Facebook has also been used by our friends and families to promote our event.

We really are a community group and were able to enlist people power from burlesque dancers to window cleaners, businesses and residents who have all helped us spread the word.

We also have a unique resource in the West End in having a large, interactive, touch screen in Sherwood Street W1. The screen promotes the area by having galleries and articles showing Soho in a historic context. It’s a local amenity that residents and visitors alike are invited to submit content to. We announced the event on our screen and added a QR code directly linking smart phones to the voting site, so that passers by could take part in the public vote.

Our local newspaper The West End Extra has been notified and we expect something in this week’s edition.

I persuaded one of our trustees to dress up as a woman (not very difficult) and canvass for votes on Friday night, but alas no one batted an eye – this is Soho after all.

I however have been walking up and down Dean Street over the week-end with gorgeous burlesque girls on each arm in my fur coat. When asked about our poll position I was left stumped! But that’s another story…

This has been a great exercise for us, as we’ve never had to move so quickly and it is great to see the support we can get when needed.

Erica Davies, Director of the Ragged School Museum, reports:

To galvanise our advocates to vote for us and spread the word, we began by emailing our friends and supporters.

We’ve sent press releases out not only to our local newspapers but also to a TV programme – aiming high!

We’re using Twitter and Facebook to maintain interest in the competition and remind people about how they can vote.

A screenshot of an exchange on a Facebook page

An example of how the Ragged School Museum use their Facebook page to interact with their fans

We’re also very thankful for Twitter as it’s a great shortcut to talk with people: when we had a dramatic water leak last week (it was like a fountain) Twitter was the only place we could go to. Very soon we had loads of suggestions and recommendations for plumbers, and the problem’s been sorted out now!

Vote in Terry O’Neill’s Connect10 poll here – where will you send him?

The competition is open until Monday March 5th, and the winning venue will be announced on Tuesday March 6th.

Connect10: How are London’s Old Operating Theatre Museum and Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum competing for Claire Barclay?

We’re delighted with the success of the Connect10 competition for venues to win  a top artist for a Museums at Night event – two weeks in, over 15,000 votes have already been cast!

In addition to creating some wonderful new Museums at Night events, the goal of this competition was always to develop and engage audiences. So, I’ll be running a series of articles looking at how the competing museums and galleries are reaching out to their audiences to encourage them to vote.

There are some excellent ideas emerging which would also be useful for any venue trying to raise awareness of their events, their fundraising, or even the fact that they exist and are worth visiting!

Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum are currently neck-and-neck with London’s Old Operating Theatre Museum in a hotly contested bid to win Scottish sculptor Claire Barclay.

Where will you send Claire for Museums at Night? Cast your vote here.

Sophie Wilson, Exhibitions & Education Manager at Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, reports:

We’ve sent details out to our local press, and showcased our Connect10 bid on the homepage of our website. As a council-run venue, we also got the info placed on our local council staff intranet.

We’ve sent a mailout to our contact list, and have also included a slip about the project in a mailing to our Friends of the Art Gallery & Museum last week.

Although we’re currently being refurbished, we’re still using our Twitter account to talk with our followers and ask for votes – we’re really pleased with the number of retweets we’ve had, and that our local Tourist Information Centre is also tweeting about the competition.

Valentina Lari, Press & Marketing Officer at the Old Operating Theatre Museum,  reports:

Our strongest advocates are our supporters, the Friends of the Museum. We’ve contacted all our mailing list, encouraging them to vote for us and to tell their friends about the competition.

We’ll be sending out a press release about Connect10 as well.

We’ve also put a link to the poll on the homepage of our site, and we’re updating our Facebook page to let our fans know where we stand in the poll – it’s very close run!

Vote in Claire Barclay’s Connect10 poll here – where will you send her?

The competition is open until Monday March 5th, and the winning venue will be announced on Tuesday March 6th.

Rosie’s Museums at Night article appears in Historic House Magazine

As you may remember, 5pm yesterday was our publicity deadline for museums and galleries to register their Museums at Night events, for the chance to be featured in BBC History Magazine’s Guide to Museums at Night.

There’s a reason why we issue publicity deadlines throughout the buildup to the campaign. On Wednesday evening there were just over 80 Museums at Night events registered in the database. And by the end of the day yesterday, this number had jumped to 140.

Thank you to everyone who registered their events: it was lovely talking to so many of you and learning about your exciting plans!

If you missed this deadline, fear not – you’re not too late to be part of the festival. You can register your event details right up until Museums at Night weekend itself, but we encourage you to get your listings into our database as soon as possible to achieve the maximum amount of PR coverage possible.

And now for something completely different, but also wonderfully positive!

The Historic Houses Association are Museums at Night campaign partners, and in January they asked me to write an article for their magazine about the benefits of running an after-hours event as part of the festival.

And today, what should arrive at C24 Towers but the spring issue of Historic House Magazine … complete with my article on page 41?

A woman smiling holding a copy of Historic House Magazine

It's a beautiful magazine, made all the more glorious by...

A magazine page with an article about Museums at Night

... My article in the magazine!

Thanks to the HHA for inviting me to write this: Project Manager Nick and I are both very happy to write about, or be interviewed about Museums at Night for any media outlet! If you’re interested, please give me a call on 01273 623336 or email

Have a relaxing weekend, everyone!

One week in to the Connect10 competition – how’s it going?

A maypole shaped like a human surrounded by taxidermy birds

Carnevale (c) Polly Morgan. Polly is just one of the 10 intrepid artists who you can vote to send to venues across the UK for Museums at Night in Culture24's Connect10 competition

After a frantically busy fortnight, with non-stop phone calls and emails flying back and forth, we opened the public vote on the Connect10 competition last week.

We’re blown away by the response: the 28 venues competing to win our 10 artists, which are located as far afield as Guernsey and Thurso, have appealed to their fans so successfully that in only 7 days, well over 10,000 votes have been cast.

I’ll pause to let that sink in.

10,000 votes.

In one week.

This is amazing.

There are some votes with early frontrunners, and others where the competing venues are currently neck and neck – but the voting is open until Monday 5th March, so  there’s still everything to play for…

Cast your Connect10 vote here on Culture24!

One more reminder: if you’re planning a Museums at Night event, register it by 5pm tomorrow (Thursday 16th February) for the chance to be featured in BBC History Magazine’s printed Guide to Museums at Night!

Questions? Problems? Want to discuss your plans? Call me on 01273 623336 or email