Museums at Night 2013 will begin on Thursday May 16!

We’re always interested in how arts and heritage organisations think we could improve Museums at Night in future – it’s one of our main goals to grow the festival sustainably by helping more venues to run successful events.

Following Museums at Night 2012, we surveyed not only the venues who took part, but also those who didn’t, to find out how we could break down some of the barriers to taking part.

Each year since 2009, Museums at Night has run over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nearest to International Museums Day – yet every year, out of hundreds of events, fewer than 20 take place on the Sunday night.

We asked venues whether it would be easier for them to run Museums at Night events if we started one day earlier on the Thursday, and finished with a bang on the Saturday night.  The response was very clear:

Venues that took part in 2012 Venues that didn’t take part in 2012
More likely



The same



Less likely



Venues’ comments on changing the festival start date to Thursday:

  • Public transport is better on Thursday than Sundays.
  • Easier to get staff to work overtime on Thursdays.
  • We already run our exhibition previews on Thursdays, so could double up with Museums at Night.
  • An extra week day would be a benefit as we wouldn’t want to turn down the chance of a wedding or party booking in place of holding a Museums at Night event as we are independent and need the income from the room booking.
  • Weekends are at a premium for us – we make money from private hires on Saturday nights.
  • The TV is better on Sunday night than Thursday – easier to get people coming straight from work than dragging them off the sofa.
  • For the first time we are now open every Thursday evening until 9pm, we would love to take part on a Thursday!
  • Generally, late opening during the week works better for us – the majority of people are able to visit a museum on a Saturday / Sunday anyway, and we find that staying open for longer on either of these days doesn’t really have an impact on stats. If we open late during the week though, we are more likely to get extra / new visitors.

You answered, we listened!

In response to your feedback, we’re trialling changing the festival dates for 2013. In September, we’ll be making a public announcement via a press release to the sector – but we wanted to let blog readers know as soon as possible.

Museums at Night will run from Thursday 16 – Saturday 18 May 2013.

Please mark it in your calendars now!

Two wooden doors opening

Museums at Night is all about opening doors to arts and heritage after hours. Image (c) Glasgow Women’s Library, 2011