Monthly Archives: June 2012

Open survey: what are the barriers to participating in Museums at Night, and should we change the date?

Museums at Night project manager Nick and myself would like to thank all the venues who ran a Museums at Night event for giving us their feedback in the 2012 Venue Survey.

a girl in spotty pyjamas making crafts

Visitors enjoy after-hours craft activities at Norwich’s Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (c) Andi Sapey

Now we’d like to turn our attention to museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites who weren’t part of Museums at Night in 2012. Perhaps your venue has never run a Museums at Night event, or maybe you chose not to participate this year.

We’d like to know more about the main barriers to participating – lack of time, money, staff, or something else?

We’d also like to know what we could do to make it easier for you to run successful Museums at Night events – all suggestions are welcome!

Finally, and possibly most contentiously, we are considering moving the days of the Museums at Night festival. It will still take place around International Museums Day (18th May), but instead of running over Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings we are considering running over Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

We know that there are some strong feelings about this, and we don’t want to make a decision without finding out your views – so please help us shape the future of Museums at Night by filling in our 5 minute Date Change Survey!

Guest Post: Signe Troost from N8 Amsterdam explains how to host a museum salon

Our latest guest post comes from Cultural Heritage student Signe Troost, who was our Museums at Night campaign intern in 2011 and has since been involved with the equivalent festival in Amsterdam.


Museums at Night Amsterdam (N8) always takes place in November, but the organization is active all year round. It’s a platform for young museumgoers.

My favourite feature of the N8 platform are the N8 Salons. They are held one or two times a year and they are like a mini version of Museums at Night, at just one venue.

a glamorous audience seated as if to watch a fashion show in a historic room

Visitors hear from experts in the intimate surroundings of the Museum of Bags after hours (c) Faye Lui

The organization from N8 creates the program for the N8 Salons based on the collection of the hosting museum. It’s a fantastic way for museums to learn how to engage a young audience, and for the visitors to N8 Salons, it’s a great way to learn about the museum in a way that appeals to them.

Last time, the N8 Salon was held in the Museum of Bags and Purses. The program featured workshops and lectures from the museum director and an entrepreneur that started the first goodie bag service in Holland.

Women looking at a museum display case full of handbags

Fashionistas admire the collection of 20th century handbags (c) Faye Lui

There was a fashion journalist that interviewed you about your purse and its contents, after which she stole your precious bag and let other people guess what kind of person the owner of this item might be.

From the looks of my purse, a lovely example made from two old records, someone thought I had to be a middle aged transvestite. Ouch!

The most fun part was the bag swapping – the idea was to cast off your old bag and swap it for someone else’s neglected example. Take a look at the visual overview of this N8 Salon: you can see that this night wasn’t just for the ladies!

A woman doing a craft project with beads and fabric

Signe making and decorating a case for her mobile phone as part of a craft activity (c) Faye Lui

N8 Salons are a great way to do something different with your museum and to attract a new audience. I think they could work very well in the UK, too, especially in cities where a lot of young people flock together.

Wouldn’t it be great to let the students from universities in Oxford create a program for a Salon in the Pitt Rivers Museum? Or have the students from the Museum Studies course in Leeds organize an interesting and fun night at the Leeds Industrial Museum? The working 1920s cinema should trigger some great ideas…

A woman with body paint and a purple wig

Elaborate headwear at a Salon held at Amsterdam Tropical Museum

Last year, the botanical gardens in Amsterdam had the ambience of a party at tropical resort during N8. I’m sure the Kew botanical gardens would make a great venue for a Salon in the summer.

My top three tips for hosting a Salon

1) Always provide music and drinks, they connect people very easily and creates a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

A group of smiling yuong people with drinks

Drinks on arrival in the Bag Museum cafe (c) Faye Lui

2) Include young people in the planning and organization of your Salon.

3) Use your social media channels. Create a Facebook event for your Salon, ask everybody to share the event on their walls and accounts, have people blogging about your event and make sure everybody makes and shares photos. Check out the Museums at Night PR toolkit for extra tips.

Have an inspiring and exciting Salon!


A girl in a scarf smilingSigne is a Cultural Heritage student from Amsterdam and is always looking for creative and innovating ways to engage museum audiences. She graduated in June and would like to find a job as an Assistant Curator or Exhibition Officer in the UK. If you have questions or want to share ideas, contact Signe through her LinkedIn profile.

Should we change the dates of Museums at Night? Complete our venue survey and win prizes!

Reading the responses museums and galleries have shared in the Museums at Night 2012 Venue Survey is an education as always!

Each year after the festival is over, we survey all the venues who ran an event.

As Museums at Night grows bigger each year, with more and more organisations participating, it’s very important to find out what your on-the-ground experience of running an event was like, and whether there were any points where the Culture24 team could have offered you more help or different resources.

Would you run a Museums at Night evening event on a Thursday?

This year we’re also asking whether you’d be more likely to take part again in future if Museums at Night took place on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday rather than a Friday, Saturday and Sunday as it currently does.

We need another 90 venues who ran a Museums at Night event to fill in our survey by Friday, to make the resulting data statistically valid – so please take 10 minutes to give us your thoughts about the festival here!

Finish the survey and win a prize!

If you complete the Museums at Night venue survey by Friday, you’ll be in the running to win one of 2 great prizes – a £50 Amazon voucher or a complete set of Raymond Chandler’s novels.

A stack of Raymond Chandler novels

Just look at the lovely books you could win – if you complete the survey in the next 2 days!

This fantastic set of books includes The Big Sleep; Farewell, My Lovely; The High Window; The Lady in the Lake; The Little Sister; The Long Goodbye; Playback; and Trouble is my Business – along with a very striking poster!

This prize comes courtesy of the lovely people at Penguin Books.

For the chance to win, simply complete our survey by Friday 15 June!