Museums Showoff is great fun: it’s an open mic night where people who work in arts and heritage, or who just love museums, galleries and archives, get together to celebrate and share quirky or entertaining stories.
It’s open to everyone: curators, conservators, librarians, collectors, Museum Studies students, archaeologists, social historians, educators, multimedia developers, explainers, visitors, theorists and everyone else associated with museums, galleries and library special collections. It brings together people from different areas of the museum and gallery world, and gets them to show off their skills, knowledge and passions.
I spoke at the first Museums Showoff about Museums at Night, and was overwhelmed by the sheer loveliness of the friendly, supportive crowd. It had a great atmosphere, more like a Fringe comedy show than any other gathering of museum folk I’d ever been to!
I’m delighted to help bring this special night down to Brighton: it’ll be taking place upstairs at the Temple Bar in Hove on the evening of Thursday 20th September.
You get 9 minutes on stage to do anything you like about museums or galleries: sign up for your 9 minute slot here!
So, what sort of thing might you do with your 9 minutes of glory? At the last 2 Museums Showoffs, I’ve marvelled at and been entertained by things as diverse as a shrunken head that smelled like a goat, songs about dinosaurs, a collection of preserved tattooed human skin, and interpreters from the Roald Dahl Museum performing a pantomime version of Cinderella.
Here are some suggestions from the Museums Showoff website for what performers might choose to do:
Show and tell:
Your new acquisition
Your favourite or a ‘star’ object from your collection
An interesting find from the stores
Something you’ve conserved
Your current research
Run a group handling session
Tell us about something you’ve dug up
Describe the weirdest thing in your collection
Ideas for your next exhibition
The most recent object your collection should acquire or dispose of
Road test ideas for exhibitions/public programmes/galleries
Tell us what a museum should be collecting and how
Tell us about research into what museums are doing and why
Demonstrate new digital projects/ideas/concepts
Or generally show off:
Showing a film or oral history project you’ve just made
Trying out a new demo or interactive exhibit
Practicing a new museum-based comedy set
Reading your latest poem/performing an interpretive dance about your museum work
Performing a 9-minute play aimed at museum audiences
Play your new song about the Tudors
Re-enact a historical event
Tell us about the latest behind-the-scenes goings on at your organization…
Or anything else!
If reading this has got you feeling inspired, please join me and sign up now to grab yourself a Museums Showoff slot! You’ll need to leave a short comment explaining what you’d like to talk about, but it really is that simple.
If you can’t make it to the Brighton event, Museums Showoff will be back in London this autumn too – but I hope to see lots of you at Temple Bar, whether or not you decide to show off!