Monthly Archives: November 2012

Museums at Night volunteer intern opportunity

The Museums at Night team (myself and Project Manager Nick Stockman) are looking for a volunteer intern to help us coordinate the Museums at Night 2013 festival. Would this opportunity be right for you? Please take a look and share it with anyone else who may be interested.

Museums at Night logo

Museums at Night festival seeks volunteer for internship 1 day a week

We’re looking for an enthusiastic and friendly person, with good communication skills, experience of using Microsoft Office, and a genuine interest in culture and heritage and/or arts festival and events management.

The placement will last 6 months from January – June 2013, and we’ll ask you to volunteer for one day each week. You will be working together with one other intern.

You’ll learn about arts marketing and audience development, and support the festival’s PR campaign, working with our media library of images and getting involved in our launch event. Of course, you’ll go along to report from a Museums at Night event during the festival. You’ll also help out with the evaluation of the festival, seeing the project through from beginning to end.

The tasks involved in this unpaid role include general administration, using our databases and CRM system and updating Museums at Night social media (blog, Twitter etc) – we would give you full training in all these programmes.

The internship is at Culture24’s office in Brighton, alongside our friendly and supportive staff: priority will be given to applicants from Brighton and the surrounding area.

By spending time with our team, you’ll pick up a lot about online publishing and the UK museum and gallery sector, which we hope will provide useful experience to further your future career plans.

Former intern Beth discusses her placement at Culture24

In the green room backstage at the Culture Matters conference in Norwich last week, I caught up with former Museums at Night intern Beth Hogben and asked her to share her experiences of working on the 2012 festival. The placement has made a real difference to her career:

“I’ve just started working for Visit England as a Project Officer – if I hadn’t worked as an intern with Culture24, I probably wouldn’t have had as much to say in my interview, and got the post!”

Watch the video to learn more about the challenges, highlights and learning opportunities that arose for Beth as a result of her internship at Culture24:

Your next step

If this could be the right opportunity for you, and you’d like more information, please email a copy of your CV to, and I’ll give you a call next week.

The deadline to apply is 5pm on Wednesday 12 December.

Interview with Laura Crossley, Museums at Night cluster coordinator supreme

I recently spoke about Museums at Night marketing through partnerships at the thoroughly interesting Culture Matters conference in Norwich. It was great to meet so many other culture and heritage professionals, compare ideas, and learn about exciting new projects, and I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to explore the stories behind the Norwich 12 iconic heritage buildings with their stunning architecture and history.

A smiling woman standing at a lectern giving a presentation

I spoke about Museums at Night partnerships as part of the Culture Matters conference marketing strand. Image courtesy Norwich HEART & Jemma Mickleburgh

One of the most exciting outcomes is that I’ve been invited to visit Norwich’s sister city, Ghent in Belgium, for their Night of Museums. I’ll be very interested to see how their festival works – and of course I’ll share any good ideas!

While we were at Culture Matters, I took the opportunity to record a chat in the Green Room with Laura Crossley, who has coordinated clusters of Museums at Night activity for three years running. Last year she brought together the Victorian Nights themed cluster, running activities across multiple organisations across three North Norfolk towns.

In this video interview, Laura discusses how to build good working relationships with a range of partners, her recommendations for joint marketing, some of the challenges she’s noticed and how to overcome them.

If you work in a museum, gallery or heritage site and are considering partnering with other local organisations to offer a joint programme of Museums at Night activity, it’s worth watching Laura’s tips: she has a lots of good suggestions for sources of support, event marketing and audience development which could really make a difference to your community.

Guest post: Jenny Jopson’s tips from Lates at the Wellcome Collection

Our latest guest post is by Jenny Jopson from the Wellcome Collection’s Events Team, who explains the idea behind their after-hours Lates programme, and how their most recent event Seize the Day came together.


On Friday 2 November the Wellcome Collection opened its doors for a special Friday night Late called Seize the Day, which urged our audience to embrace the inevitability of death … and celebrate while we still can!

a band in red waistcoats and bow ties

The Silk Street Jazz Band at the Wellcome Collection’s Seize the Day event (c) Wellcome Library, London.

Event timing

The date was chosen to act as a teaser for Wellcome Collection’s new temporary exhibition, ‘Death: A Self Portrait’, and also marked the Mexican Day of the Dead – a festival that traditionally takes an irreverent and playful look at death.

The event ran from 7-11pm across four floors of the building, and featured a jazz band recreating the joyous atmosphere of a traditional Dixieland jazz funeral, the chance to decorate a coffin, storytelling, dance classes and talks from experts on the history of reanimation, the stats of death and memento mori in art.

A group of people decorating a hot pink coffin

Visitors decorating a coffin at the Wellcome Collection (c) Wellcome Library, London

Teamwork and collaboration

Seize the Day built on the success of previous large scale events such as Elements, Hands and Quacks and Cures. Friday night Lates are a special feature of the Wellcome Collection calendar – they are larger in ambition and scope than our regular programme of lunchtime and evening discussion events and performances. They involve multiple spaces across the building and enlist the help of tens of support staff – the events team, front of house staff, audio visual and catering teams.

bright yellow artworks hanging from clotheslines

Visitors created fantasy funeral cards which were hung up across the space (c) Wellcome Library, London

But it’s the audience that undoubtedly makes the evening go with a bang. Friday night Lates are unfailingly social occasions – people come in groups together with friends, have a glass of wine and never fail to amaze me with their open-mindedness, curiosity and sense of fun.

Marketing through print and Facebook

Over 1000 people attended Seize the Day, following a marketing campaign that included distributing printed flyers at other cultural venues and a lively Facebook presence.

couples dancing slowly in a museum after dark

Dancers sway together at the Wellcome Collection (c) Wellcome Library, London

The Lates style – entertaining, provocative, fun 

Friday night Lates have become an important part of the events programme since Wellcome Collection opened its doors five years. We want to provoke discussion and debate around biomedicine through our events programme, and through our Lates programme we also aim to be entertaining, provocative and, above all, fun. We have big plans to do more in the future – so look out for details coming soon on our website, as we’d love to see you there!

a girl wearing glasses smilingJenny Jopson works in the events team at Wellcome Collection, where she helps run a lively programme of discussion events, performances and Friday night Lates.


Thanks, Jenny!

If you’re reading this and you’ve got something to say about any aspect of audience development, after-hours event planning or marketing for arts and heritage venues, I’d love to publish your guest posts too. Drop me an email at

Sources of funding for Museums at Night events

I’ve recently been asked about the sources of funding that are available to organisations wanting to run Museums at Night events, so I thought I’d share the information in one useful article.

A stack of pound coins spelling out the word MONEY

Money! Image shared under a Creative Commons licence by Flickr user Community Friend

Grants for the Arts

Any venue or consortia of venues thinking about taking part in Museums at Night in 2013 or beyond are encouraged to consider Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts funding programme.

Grants For The Arts are for activities carried out over a set period and which engage people in England in arts activities, and help artists and arts organisations in England carry out their work.

Grants For The Arts is funded by the National Lottery and works on an open application basis. If the application is for up to £10,000, a decision will be made within 6 weeks of submitting it.

Any type of venue can apply, including museums and libraries but your proposal must be for arts activity.

The Museums at Night festival is a great forum to try something different to attract audiences and present your venue in a different light. You could collaborate with any of a wide range of artists or arts organisations to create an innovative event or events.

Last year the Arts Council produced a video focusing on two events in Museums at Night; Bompas & Parr’s jelly-making collaboration with the ss Great Britain in Bristol and Bob and Roberta Smith’s intervention at the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne. The film illustrates two great examples of arts activity in cultural venues.

You can read the full guidelines about Grants for the Arts on the Arts Council’s website. You can get further support and discuss your ideas with the Arts Council in advance of applying – this is recommended.

Want to discuss this opportunity with your team? Download our Grants for the Arts funding advice as a PDF.

Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund funds projects which focus on heritage, promote benefits for the public and are not mainly for private gain. Culture24 gained funding for the 2012 Museums at Night clusters in North Lincolnshire and North Norfolk through the HLF Your Heritage fund: contact your local HLF office adviser before submitting an application.

Local council / Town Trust / community grants

Ask about these in your area: many are linked to from the Cabinet Office’s Funding Central website which lists over 4,000 sources of grants, contracts and loans. They’re not specific to the arts or heritage, but you can sign up for email alerts or RSS feeds that are relevant to your interests.

Worcestershire funding alerts

If your organisation is based in the county of Worcestershire, you can register with the Worcestershire Partnership to receive news alerts about local funding sources.

In-kind funding

Not every event will be able to secure sponsorship or funding, but if you can’t secure money, why not try asking for in-kind support from local businesses? Some arts and heritage organisations have successfully partnered with local media channels such as newspapers, blogs and radio stations to promote their events and raise the profile of their work in the community. Others have received food and drink, competition prizes, and even a set of torches to enable them to run torchlight tours: it never hurts to ask!

Crowd-funding your project online

Artist Emily Speed created a very useful resource for a-n, the Artists Information Company, explaining how crowd-funding online can potentially bring in revenue for creative projects.

What would you suggest?

Have you received funding towards an events programme or a specific Museums at Night event? Please share your tips and let us know what’s worked for you in the comments below!

Resource roundup, a volunteering toolkit, and an interview with Rosie

It’s a bright sunny day here at C24 Towers in Brighton, and I’ve got some useful links and resources to share!

My three tips for appealing to teenage audiences

I’ll be speaking at the Culture Matters conference in Norwich next week, and was interviewed about Museums at Night for their website. Take a look, and discover my three tips for attracting teenage audiences to museum events!

Toolkit to help small organisations support volunteers

Voluntary Arts and Volunteering England have published a new toolkit to help small and medium-sized organisations improve the support they offer volunteers.  The Arts Council England-funded toolkit uses a wide range of best practice quality assurance processes and procedures, including those that underpin Investors in Volunteers.

Videos: how arts ambassadors can attract new audiences

Helen Ball from the Arts Marketing Association has recorded a series of short screencasts about arts ambassadors, and how they can work with arts venues to engage local communities. She shares several case studies, and the different models would be just as useful for museums and heritage venues as for galleries and theatres.

Music in museums – it’s been happening for years!

A brass band playing amid a crowd in a dimly lit gallery

Bob and Roberta Smith fill the Towner Gallery with music for Museums at Night 2012 – photo courtesy Jane Finnis

And finally, an encouraging quote from Still Digging, by energetic adventurer and magnificently moustached archaeologist Sir Mortimer “Rik” Wheeler, on one of his audience development initiatives. While working at the Museum of London in the 1930s, he brought in a series of classical music concerts sponsored by Makower:

“These concerts were a great success. The audience consisted of an astonishing medley of critics, music students, tradesmen, guardsmen with their girls, passers-by and pilgrims of all sorts.

They stood or sat about on the stairs or balconies or vacant patches of floor, without any special provision; indeed the slight discomfort contributed to the sense of informality and adventure.

No stage separated listener from performer, and the resultant sense of intimacy gave an unusual quality to the scene.

‘But what has music to do with a museum?’ asked the caviler.

‘A museum, my dear sir, is a home of the muses. Why should we turn Euterpe into the storm?’”

Indeed – let this inspire everyone considering programming musical or performance events for Museums at Night 2013!

Guest post: Ulster Museum explain how they run successful sleepovers

Our latest guest post comes from Beth Frazer, Visitor Guide at Ulster Museum.


From the seedling of an idea in a small team of Visitor Services staff, sleepovers at the Ulster Museum have grown into a highly sought after event for both families and organisations. We have so far delivered this unique event to over 800 children and adults, with another 3 sleepovers fully booked for 2012.

A mummy, a Viking and a World War I soldier loom over a museum sleepover

Costumed characters appear during an Ulster Museum sleepover (c) National Museums Northern Ireland

The events of course are hard work for us staff: sleeping on the floor and running around with families all evening can be exhausting and isn’t part of our usual job description – but they’re definitely worth the hard work. Overhearing children discussing how it is the “best night of their life,” and seeing families create memories which will last a lifetime adds a whole new dimension to working in the museum.

How the evening works 

The night kicks off when our doors open to 90 ticket holders.

Following the excitedly charged ‘Big Welcome’ everyone splits into teams to head off for the evening’s fun, educational activities. These can include Living Histories, Fossil Making Workshop, Discovering Nature, Archaeology workshop, a live reptile show and a torch lit tour of the museum, hunting for dinosaurs and becoming Ulster Museum honorary palaeontologists!

Pyjama-wearing children with torches at a museum after hours

Young visitors brandish their torches ready to explore Ulster Museum (c) National Museums Northern Ireland

At midnight, the lights go out as everyone snuggles into their sleeping bags overlooked by our triceratops.

The morning brings some tired looking faces over breakfast, but is eagerly followed by our last activity before we all say a BIG goodbye.

Why we run sleepovers 

The aim of these events is to create a unique family experience, bringing new visitors to the museum and helping children learn in a fun way. We are creating opportunities to visit the museum after hours in a way that most museums in Northern Ireland have not yet explored.

The feedback is fantastic and we have had quite a few second bookings, which speaks volumes. Ultimately, it’s thanks to the commitment and hard work of our small team that we deliver such amazing work.

Our sleepovers have been nominated as 2012’s Family Event of the Year, so we hope in the future this can become an award-winning event in our award-winning Museum! If you’re in Northern Ireland, perhaps we’ll see you for your own sleepover adventure on January 18, 2013?

A smiling woman with a torch and clipboardBeth Frazer is a Creative Imagery graduate from Huddersfield University. She has been a visitor guide at Ulster Museum for 3 years, works as part of the events team and is key co-ordinator of Nights at the Museum.


Thanks, Beth! If you’re reading this and you’ve got something to say about any aspect of audience development, after-hours event planning or marketing for arts and heritage venues, I’d love to publish your guest posts too. Drop me an email at