Museums at Night 2015 first publicity deadline: register your events by Friday 13 February!

Thank you to everyone who’s got in touch asking about how to register events for the Museums at Night festival!

Here’s our resource explaining how to use Culture24’s DDE database to register your Museums at Night 2015 event:

Our first PR deadline is Friday 13 February 2015. If you register your event listing in our database by 5pm on  this date, it will appear in our themed press releases going out to long-lead glossy magazines.

What else can you do to help us get you publicity? Send us your photos!

We’re looking for high-resolution photos showing members of your target audience having a good time in your venue – perhaps doing a hands-on activity, holding objects, or in costume, if it’s a costumed event!

Running a photo-shoot

If you’ll be offering a certain activity or food and you don’t have decent photos to illustrate it, it’s absolutely fine to stage a photo-shoot, as the Museum of Farnham did recently so they had a suite of images to use to raise awareness of their Museums at Night sleepover.

If your event is aimed at families, you’ll want to get some photos with children of your target age group: make sure you have their parents’ permission.

A group of children lying on a museum floor with sleeping bags and torches

Children posing with sleeping bags at the Museum of Farnham ahead of their sleepover. Picture courtesy Bryan Sewell.

On the other hand, if your event will offer sophisticated cocktails and live music, show people enjoying them amid your objects. Have you run a similar event in the past? Look through your pictures – and any people shared on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook on the night – and see if any would be good to use for publicity now.

Having great photos can make the difference between a tiny news nib in your local paper, and attracting a half-page feature. So please, don’t delay: register your events and send us your photos today!

Team Museums at Night on the road again: join our free briefing sessions!

Interested in taking part in the Museums at Night festival and/or entering the Connect! competition to develop a participatory event with a contemporary artist?

We’re delighted to announce our second series of free, friendly Museums at Night / Connect! regional workshops in early February 2015, following our successful roadshows in London, the Midlands and Yorkshire in 2013.

In February we’ll be travelling to three different regions: the South West (Bristol), East of England (Cambridge) and North West (Manchester).

A group of Men In Black dancers parade through a town centre

The circus is coming! This isn’t Team Museums at Night – it’s artist Jessica Voorsanger leading a sci-fi parade through Scunthorpe for the 2014 festival. Find out how she did it at our workshops!

Who are these workshops for?

These afternoon workshops are completely free to attend, and are open to anybody interested in taking part in Museums at Night in 2015 and beyond. Museums at Night is Culture24’s annual after-hours festival showcasing the arts and heritage sector, which each year offers a great audience development opportunity.

Whether you’re a staff member or volunteer, MDO or Town Centre Manager; based in a museum, gallery, library, archive or heritage site; and whether your organisation has never taken part in the festival before or has frequently run events, but would like more inspiration or the chance to form a local cluster; you’ll find something of interest.

What is the Connect! competition?

Formerly known as Connect10, Connect! is the competition giving venues the chance to win a participatory artist-led Museums at Night event and a £3,000 bursary. Some aspects of the competition are changing in 2015, so please come along to find out more.

What can you expect?

You’ll find out about the benefits and challenges involved in hosting an after-hours event, what it takes to be a Connect! winner, and what it’s like to host a top artist from the people who have done it before.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to hear first-hand from a Connect10 artist, who will share their experience of developing a successful participatory event, and tips for venues interested in working with artists.

You’ll learn how to organise a local cluster of venues to take part in the festival, plus there will be plenty of opportunities to meet and chat with colleagues from your region.

Event timings:

Doors open at 1pm for tea and coffee, each event kicks off at 1:30 and will finish at 4:30pm. We can’t offer lunch, but hot drinks will be available.

Event and booking details:

East of England: Monday 2nd February, Scott Polar Museum, Cambridge

Speakers include:

  • A cluster coordinatorLaura Crossley, Heritage and Audience Development consultant who has successfully bid for funding and set up several Museums at Night clusters in North Norfolk
  • A Connect10 venue: Suzannah Bedford, who led the Renewal Trust’s campaign to bring top photographer Rankin to St Ann’s Allotments in Nottingham for Museums at Night
  • A Connect10 artist: Kelvyn Smith of Mr Smith’s Letterpress Workshop, who devised a unique letterpress printing experience at Walthamstow’s William Morris Gallery, taking inspiration from Morris’ writings and the venue’s collections

North West: Thursday 5 February, Manchester Central Library

Speakers include:

  • A cluster coordinator: Christina Grogan, who has grown Liverpool’s Light Night into an unmissable city culture crawl
  • A Museums at Night venue: Damon Waldock, who has successfully developed Yorkshire Sculpture Park‘s Museums at Night events over several years
  • A Connect10 artist: Janette Parris, who brought in fellow artists and performers to copy and re-present Cardiff Story Museum, and even wrote songs inspired by their collection objects

South West: Wednesday 11 February, M Shed, Bristol

Speakers include:

  • A cluster coordinator: Elaine Lees from Creativity Works, who successfully brought venues together from towns and villages across Pennine Lancashire in the Festival of Wonders cluster
  • A Connect10 venue: Lucie Connors, who led Cardiff Story Museum‘s campaign to bring contemporary artist Janette Parris to re-make and perform in their exhibitions for Museums at Night
  • A Connect10 artist: Jessica Voorsanger, who led a parade through Scunthorpe culminating in sci-fi themed art interventions that transformed the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre

Don’t miss out – book your free place today!

These briefings are supported by Arts Council England lottery funding.


Two short podcasts about Museums at Night

I was recently interviewed by Terence Eden for his About a Minute podcast, which is a short burst of someone sharing their enthusiasm for a project they think is interesting.

In Episode 15, I introduce the Museums at Night festival.

And in Episode 17, I discuss being part of the group fall into the sea that artist Amy Sharrocks led at Swansea Museum during the festival last year.

A black and white photo of people on a beach holding hands to walk into the sea

Artist Amy Sharrocks leads people towards the sea for a mass fall into the water (c) Kaan Ucele Photography

Promote your museum or gallery on the podcast!

Terence is currently looking for more people to appear on his podcast – so if your museum or gallery is doing something interesting and you’re happy to talk about it for 60 seconds, he’d love to hear from you. Here are all the ways you can contact him.

When is Museums at Night in 2016, 2017 and 2018?

If you’re planning your long term calendar and would like to know the dates of the Museums at Night festival for the next 4 years, here you go:

Thursday 14 – Saturday 16 May 2015
Thursday 12 – Saturday 14 May 2016
Thursday 18 – Saturday 20 May 2017
Thursday 17 – Saturday 19 May 2018

We’re particularly excited about 2016: the last time the Museums at Night festival included a Friday 13th, lots of museums and heritage sites programmed ghost tours, paranormal evenings and showcased the sinister side of their collections.

These were easy to promote in the media – so if you want to take advantage of this marketing opportunity in 2016, be sure to start taking photos of your spooky objects and events now!

A witch in a candlelit room

An atmospheric candlelit photo from the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall

A Curious Night at the Booth Museum


This is a terrific review of a well-thought-out after-hours event held recently at the Booth Museum in Brighton, written by Brighton Museums’ latest blogger-in-residence. The event title is immediately intriguing – A Curious Night of the Slightly Strange – and in fact this atmospheric event quickly sold out. Read on to find out more:

Originally posted on Royal Pavilion & Brighton Museums:

Stag heads at the Booth

Well I could not have hoped for a better start to my exciting new post as the third Blogger in Residence for Brighton Museums than a visit to the Booth Museum of Natural History, where I squeezed in for a sold out evening event, A Curious Night of the Slightly Strange.

For most of the attendees, the event was a bit of a trip down memory lane, the museum familiar to them from school trips, but being a recent incomer to Brighton this was my very first visit. A chilly night not long after Halloween was certainly a suitable time to be inducted into this twilight world of stuffed birds, lizard skeletons and thousands of pinned and mounted creepy crawlies.

The first thing I noticed were the stuffed brown bears in the entrance hallway. There’s nothing remotely cuddly about these critters who stand opposite each other, baring their fearsome teeth…

View original 1,028 more words

Intro to Culture24 and Museums at Night!

I’ve been lucky enough to travel to various heritage sector events over the last 6 weeks, talking about Culture24 and Museums at Night. I wanted to share the resources and a helpful introductory presentation here, so you can see the sort of information I give out and download the handouts for yourself.

Museums Norfolk Development Day: Using events to engage visitors and generate income 

I introduced Culture24’s various services and some of our current initiatives with this one-page Culture24 contact handout.

I explained how museums can get started using Culture24’s DDE database to showcase events and exhibitions, with this one-page introduction to Culture24’s DDE.

Finally, I discussed how even the smallest heritage venues could successfully take part in Museums at Night and attract publicity in a mini-marketing masterclass.


SHOWCASE: South East Museum Development conference

A woman smiling on a stand with handouts

Rosie at Brooklands Museum, image courtesy Scott Ramsey Photography

I took part in this fascinating day at historic Brooklands Museum, talking about how museums could take advantage of Culture24’s services, and run successful events for Museums at Night. I was really pleased to meet so many people in person who read my newsletters, and who I’d only had email contact with before!


I also took part in the brilliant three-day Museomix hackathon at Derby Silk Mill and Derby Museum & Art Gallery – here are the terrific remixed collection objects the 7 teams developed over the weekend:

As Community Manager I welcomed people who were new to the heritage hackathon experience. I created new content, sourcing stories and interviewing museum staff to provide features for the MuseomixUK Tumblr; helped the teams to post images and thoughts to their own Tumblrs; highlighted interesting digital content from others; and helped with idea generation and prototype development – I’d recommend the experience to anyone!

Museums at Nightclub opportunity: expression of interest form

A few months ago we introduced the idea of Museums at Nightclub: an artist-led, touring event series taking place in Autumn / Winter 2015, produced by a consortium of venues in conjunction with Culture24, taking place in areas with low engagement in the arts. It will feature artists who specialise in participatory arts events, and who have worked on the Connect10 project in previous years.

We are developing a proposal to submit to Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Programme before Christmas, involving a partnership with venues. Could you be one of them?

Download the three page information pack to find out more about what will be involved.

We want to work with 16 venues from all over the country over the two year lifetime of the project, eight in the first year and again eight in year two. We want to submit the application with at least eight venues firmly committed to the project and at least eight more aiming for year two.

Venues from anywhere in England may express an interest but preference will be given to those identified by the Taking Part Survey (2008 – 2010) as being in the 118 local authority areas in the country with the lowest level of engagement in the arts.

We will read all the expression of interest forms submitted and contact everybody before inclusion in the final application. Inclusion in the application is not to be taken as a commitment by Culture24 to include your venue in the project.

The first stage of the project after receiving a positive decision would be to hold detailed discussions with the artists and interested venues. At this stage there are many aspects of the event that may lead us to need to prioritise one venue over another; diarising simultaneous events, artist schedules, facilities, technical considerations, progress of audience development planning and much more besides.

Want to get involved? Your next steps:

1) Download the Museums at Nightclub 3 page info pack and list of local authority areas of low arts engagement. You can still apply if your local authority isn’t listed here,

2) Discuss the opportunity with your team. Becoming part of the new Museums at Nightclub touring network will involve a lot of time and development work ahead of the events in autumn / winter 2015: do you have the capacity for this?

3) Phone Nick on 01273 623279 or Rosie on 01273 623336 for a discussion about how this opportunity would work for your organisation.

4) Want to apply? Download the list of application form questions, and start preparing your answers.

N.B. Please take a look at the list of questions from the expression of interest form first, to prepare your answers before filling in the form. The form is two pages long, involves a certain amount of detail about your target audiences, and must be completed in one sitting – you can’t save it and come back to it.  

5) Ready to submit your expression of interest? Please fill in this form by Friday 29 November.

Please get in touch with Nick or Rosie if you have any questions relating to this project, or if you can’t download the documents – we’re happy to email them to you.