Monthly Archives: January 2013

Museums at Night London networking event, Tuesday 5 February 2013

Calling museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites in South London – come and find out more about Museums at Night!

If your organisation hasn’t taken part in the festival before, but you’re interested in learning more and possibly collaborating with other local venues, we’re working with Better Bankside to offer a free lunchtime presentation and ideas swap.

Sandwiches will be provided, and this is a great opportunity to get inspired, compare notes with other arts and heritage venues, and work out the next steps to take in planning and promoting your Museums at Night event.

The Bankside Community Space
18 Great Guildford Street (on the corner with Zoar Street)
London SE1 0FD

Date: Tuesday 5 February 2013

Time: 12:30 – 1:30pm

Cost: Free

How to book: Contact Joanna Sawkins for more information and to reserve a space – email or call 020 7928 3998.

I look forward to meeting you there!

A poster advertising Rosie Clarke's London talk about Museums at Night

Guest post: Louise West from Jane Austen’s House Museum on the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice – and a Museums at Night readathon!

Our latest guest post is by Louise West from Jane Austen’s House Museum, and is specially timed to coincide with Pride and Prejudice being published 200 years ago today! Louise explains how plans for her venue’s Museums at Night readathon event developed …


The 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice today – and a whole year of celebrations throughout 2013 – gives us the opportunity to alert the world to the importance of Jane Austen’s House Museum as the home of Jane Austen’s writing. As one of the most popular books ever written, and one which has been translated into numerous languages, Pride and Prejudice has instant impact and appeal.

We always aim to attract as wide an audience as possible, and our exhibition and events programme will help to extend that reach. We have a travelling exhibition celebrating the novel and its appeal: this will travel to libraries in central London, discovery centres in Hampshire and locations used for the various adaptations.

The novel really comes to life when read out loud, partly because Jane Austen excelled at writing dialogue.

A reading of the entire novel in one day will naturally take us into the evening – and this is how we will celebrate Museums at Night.

A woman sitting in front of a bookshelf holding a red hardback book

Louise West reading a copy of Pride and Prejudice (c) Isabel Snowden

Reading and listening to Jane Austen’s words in the fading light of her village home will evoke her spirit most powerfully. Each chapter will be read by someone different, and as there are over 60 chapters, this means that at least that number of people will be able to participate in this event.

In 2011, to mark the bicentenary of Sense and Sensibility, we introduced readings in the Museum for the first time. Our patron, actor Elizabeth Garvie who played Elizabeth Bennet in the 1980 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, gave a number of volunteers a ‘masterclass’ in reading.

Some of our volunteers had been hiding their light under a bushel and read beautifully. This was a skill which we hadn’t previously realised we could use in the Museum!

A large red brick seventeenth century house

Jane Austen’s House Museum. Image shared under a Creative Commons licence by Flickr user iknow-uk

At the time we had staff reading in the house at several points during the day. This had some appeal, but sometimes visitors didn’t quite know how to respond, and felt a bit uncomfortable: should they stand and listen, or should they continue their journey around the Museum?

We feel that by holding an actual readathon for Museums at Night 2013 we will create more interest, and also that the audience will understand how to react.

When Jane Austen first received her copy of Pride and Prejudice, that very night she sat down and read aloud with her mother to an unsuspecting neighbour:

‘On the very day of the Books coming, & in the eveng. we set fairly at it & read half the 1st vol. to her.’

We will not be recreating this original reading, but rather involving as many people as possible in the experience of hearing Jane’s words read aloud in the house where she wrote them.


A woman by a hedge smilingLouise West has been Curator of Jane Austen’s House Museum in September 2010 having previously fulfilled the role of Education and Collections Manager at the Museum.

“It was really Jane Austen that bought me to Hampshire 30 years ago. My grandparents lived in the county but I lived in Manchester and then London. I wanted to work with Hampshire’s museums and secretly hoped I’d get a job at Jane Austen’s House one day.”

After a career break to raise her four children, Louise took an MA in Museum and Gallery Education at the Institute of Education, London University and worked with many organisations, including the Mary Rose Museum, Southampton City Museums, Winchester Cathedral and the V&A.


Thanks, Louise!

If you’re reading this and you have an interesting story to tell or case study to share about planning or marketing after-hours events, I’d love to publish your guest posts as well. Please get in touch at

Introducing new Museums at Night festival intern Holly Parsons

A girl in blue smilingHello, my name is Holly and I will be one of the Culture24 interns for this year.

I have previously worked in museums in Portsmouth and Brighton.

While studying in Portsmouth I worked at Portsmouth City Museum. My role involved updating the catalogue of early twentieth century postcards, updating the details of their description, postmark and printers. This was a long and gruelling task, however, over time withdrawal symptoms have kicked in and I now have an unhealthy obsession for anything to do with postcards and stamps.

Since moving to Brighton I have become a volunteer for the Old Police Cells, which are located under Brighton Town Hall. I started as a tour guide but soon became the ‘Twitterbook Monkey’ and organised our bid for Museum Accreditation. You can find out what we’re doing by following @PolicecellsBri on Twitter or joining our Facebook page

In future I would love to work in a museum. I particularly enjoy tour guiding, where I get to have fun talking to the visitors and discussing objects and issues, and working in the back rooms finding hidden objects in the collection and updating the catalogue.

I am really looking forward to working with Culture24 on the Museums at Night festival because it’s an opportunity to learn about a wide variety of museums and collections. I may be contacting you on the phone soon: I look forward to helping you!

Curious about the Connect10 competition? We’re here to help!

We’re getting a lot of interest in the Connect10 competition, which is terrific – this isn’t just a chance to secure a top artist and up to £2000 towards your Museums at Night event, but also offers every venue taking part some great audience development, publicity and creative programming opportunities.

A doorframe and open door in the middle of the countryside

Connect10 can open your venue’s doors to contemporary artists. L’Alége d’Or (c) Gavin Turk, 2012

It’s also been great to see venues asking their audiences which artists they’d like to see. One good example is this tweet from Tullie House in Carlisle:

1) Information

Find out all the details about how the Connect10 competition works here: you’ll also find links to our complete resource pack for venues, and the competition Ts & Cs.

2) Artists

The ten participating artists this year are Jake & Dinos Chapman, Martin Creed, Mat Collishaw, Cullinan Richards, Susan Forsyth, rAndom International, Gavin Turk, Julia Vogl, Richard Wentworth and Julian Wild.

Meet all the Connect10 artists and discover their ideas – could any of these work well at your venue?

3) Submit your idea

Enter your event idea into the Connect10 competition via this form by 5pm on Thursday 31 January!

The Connect10 competition is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Don’t forget, Nick and I are here to help. We’ve already spoken to many of you, so please don’t feel shy about getting in touch. If you have questions about any aspect of the process, or would like to discuss your plans, simply give us a call on 01273 623336 or email

Live music for Museums at Night

Every year, the Museums at Night team work in partnership with a range of organisations to give arts and heritage venues opportunities to include new creative content in their festival events.

A band performing in a museum basement, lit with magenta light

Birmingham dub band Troumaca performing in the basement of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum as part of Museums at Night 2012. Photo courtesy Ben Miller.

We are now working with the Association of Independent Music (AIM) to help musicians and bands get together with arts and heritage venues to create events for the 2013 festival. We’ll be listing the contact information for artists and acts that are available to play in our e-newsletters over the next couple of months.

To kick us off:

Contact Ben Wileman for more information.

  • Folk musician James J Turner is signed to Liverpool-based Touch The Moon Records.

Contact Judith Whittaker to talk about booking James.

Talk to Debra if you are interested in any of her acts appearing at your venue.

Watch out for more  information about musical acts available to play during Museums at Night over the coming weeks: sign up for our email newsletters here to ensure you don’t miss out!