Tag Archives: can you help?

Newsflash: the BBC will broadcast Museums at Night 2014

Culture24 is close to reaching an agreement with the BBC to broadcast coverage of the 2014 Museums at Night festival on national & local television, radio and online.

At this stage we are working with the BBC to plan the scope of the coverage, but it is likely that some festival events will be covered by the BBC for broadcast on BBC2 with others to be presented on a special new arts website. 

Vital info

We want to hear about every event that is being planned for Museums at Night but we need to know about it now! We are particularly looking for events that fulfil the following criteria:

  • Has a performance, artistic or creative element
  • Is  visually interesting and exciting for a TV audience
  • Will enable privileged access to parts of your venue or collection that are not normally open to the public
  • Demonstrates how you reach out to your local community and invite contributions and participation in new and exciting ways
  • Offers an example of how museums and galleries are responding to current issues the sector faces such as changing revenue models, reduced funding, the challenges of the connected world, and the drive to attract new audiences

Plus, do you have a fabulous and fascinating curator who would be engaging discussing their specialist subject on camera? We need to know!

a mother and daughter with a papercraft project

Family craft activities are always popular (c) Oxfordshire Museum

Please either register your Museums at Night event listing in our database ASAP (here’s how) or email Nick or Rosie with the following info:

  • Name of venue and location (town, city, village)
  • Event title
  • Description – no more than 100 words
  • When – Thursday 15th, Friday 16th or Saturday 17th May
  • Admission – free ticketed, free drop-in or pay-ticketed (if so how much)
  • Your target audience; adults, families etc
  • Tell us why it fits one or more of the 5 vital criteria above in no more than 100 words
  • Main contact details

Send your event details to Rosie Clarke, rosie@culture24.org.uk or Nick Stockman, nick@culture24.org.uk or ring 01273 623279/623336.

The sooner you get us this info the more likely it will be that the BBC can cover your event in some way.

Every year for six years, feedback from participating venues about Museums at Night has highlighted one thing – the need to raise the festival’s profile through national broadcast media. This is your opportunity to make this happen!

Museums at Night 2013 visitor surveys: free to use!

Museums at Night is now only a handful of days away, and we have a suggestion for all participating venues.

If you’re planning to survey the visitors who come along to your event, please consider either downloading and using our official visitor survey, or copying our questions to use in your survey.

These survey questions were designed by our independent evaluator, and if you do use them, we’d love to include your results in our official evaluation of the festival.

Download the official Museums at Night visitor survey here.

Once the surveys are filled in, if you’re able to, please type the responses into a spreadsheet and email it to us by Friday 24th May. If you don’t have the capacity to do this data entry, you can post your visitor survey forms to Culture24 office and we’ll process them for you.

Help us – and yourselves!

Whether or not you decide to survey your visitors, on the night of your event, there are two things your team can do that would be really helpful:

1) Count the number of visitors who come to your event

We’ll be asking every venue to send us their visitor numbers afterwards. Last year, over 120,000 visitors came along to Museums at Night events, including more than 45,000 people who were new to the venue they visited and over 5000 people who had never been to any arts or heritage venue before. It’s great to have these numbers, and we are hoping that even more people will attend Museums at Night this year.

2) Take high-resolution photos you’ll be able to use for marketing in the future

Every year we ask participating venues for images to illustrate the idea of Museums at Night, and it’s always a challenge. Pictures showing people having a good time while exploring your building and interacting with your collections are really useful. If you’re taking photos of children, be sure to ask permission from their parents or guardians. You can find guidance on photos and publicity here.

A concert taking place inside a cathedral

Evening concert in Grimsby Minster, one of several Grimsby venues taking part in Museums at Night 2013

Eight days to go … we hope you are as excited as we are!

Order your free BBC History Magazine Guides to Museums at Night by Wednesday 3rd April!

BBC History Magazine’s Guide to Museums at Night is nearly ready, and it’s going to be very special: this year’s cover design is by top artist Fred Deakin!

The Guide is an A5 glossy brochure with 16 pages of themed editorial roundups and photos celebrating and promoting the festival, giving a flavour of the diverse and exciting events taking place. It’s not a dry series of listings, but is designed to encourage people who pick it up to head to the Museums at Night website to find out more about festival events taking place near them.

children walking between bookcases

Families looking for after-hours inspiration (c) John Rylands Library, Manchester

All the 70,000 readers of BBC History Magazine will receive the Guide, but we’re also having 75,000 extras printed to distribute through Tourist Information Centres and to send out to your venues. For the last couple of years, this has been a key part of the Museums at Night festival marketing at a local level.

Last year, the venues who requested brochures had great success in raising awareness about the festival placing them in foyers and cafes, local libraries, bookshops, theatres, cafes, bars, and supermarkets: you know better than we do the places that people are likely to pick up brochures in your town.

Order your free brochures here now!

If your venue is running a Museums at Night event and you don’t fill in the form, we’ll automatically send you a box of 100 brochures. However, if you can take more than this please use the form to let us know by Wednesday 3rd April, as you won’t be able to ask for more later. You can request as many large boxes (500 brochures) or small boxes (100 brochures) as you want and we will send them to you completely free of charge.

Alternatively, if for some reason you can’t put any brochures out, please fill in the form to let us know so we don’t send you unnecessary copies.

Last year it was incredibly heartening to see many venues who weren’t able to run events supporting the Museums at Night festival, and other local venues by asking for brochures to put out. It would be wonderful to have your support during this campaign.

Could you do this? Please click here to request your Guides!

Excellent Museums at Night publicity photos

Hello again, it’s Holly the intern here!

I’ve had a very busy couple of days playing with a spreadsheet which has details of all of your lovely Museums at Night events. I’ve called a lot of participating museums, asking you all to send me photos of previous after-hours events that Culture24 can use to publicize the Museums at Night festival.

We’ve received an abundance of emails with some really amazing photos, and we wanted to share some of the best with you.

Because the festival is Museums at Night, we need pictures taken at night, or at least dusk. This example from Lewes Castle is excellent as it shows the castle at dusk, with a volunteer in period dress holding a dramatic blazing torch as he looks over the castle walls – giving a good impression of what it would be like to visit their venue.

Soldier on castle ramparts holding blazing torch at dusk

Soldier on the ramparts of Lewes Castle.

So what could be better than a lovely night time picture of your museum and its surroundings? Well, a picture of visitors interacting with your collection of course!

This picture from Canterbury Museums, who are running an event called Owls, Lanterns and Moonlit Landscapes, where stories come alive inspired by their collection of paintings and objects, represents this well as the boys in the image are actively partaking in the activity and all look engaged as they pick up the pieces of pottery.

Children playing with pieces of pottery

Children enjoying the hands on area. (c) Canterbury Museums.

Now they say “Never work with children or animals,” but family events are always popular at Museums at Night, so many museums have sent us pictures of previous events aimed at children.

Some excellent examples have come from John Rylands Library in Manchester who are holding a Doctor Who sleepover again this year. Their pictures show children who are in their fancy dress costumes, laughing and having fun, while showing off the historic setting of the library building.

Children in costumes of historic building

Children in Doctor Who costumes (c) John Rylands Library

Many other venues also ignore this saying by running events that make a feature of the animal kingdom – this year there are several nature walks taking place at museums across the country such as Killhope Lead Mining MuseumKnebworth House or Prestongrange Museum.

But Museums at Night isn’t just for kids! This picture shows mature visitors enjoying themselves at Arlington Court, who are running a Victorian Dinner Party this year. This lady is genuinely laughing and having a great time: looking at this picture, I’d love to be there!

Woman in a wheelchair with several other people standing

Visitors at Arlington Court enjoying the activities.

We are also looking for images of events that may not normally happen in museums such as this glamorous night out organised by the Museum of Soho.

Woman in masquerade mask.

Woman in masquerade mask at the Museum of Soho.

So having read this, you must be wondering if it’s too late to send us your photos. And the answer is of course not! We still want your photos to add to our media image library to publicize the festival.

Please send us pictures that

  • Are in focus
  • Are high resolution (at least 300 dpi)
  • Feature interested-looking visitors having a good time at your venue, with their faces visible
  • Are taken at sunset, at night, or at least out of direct sunlight.

Please send your images to rosie@culture24.org.uk and we’ll work our magic to spread them to the wider world!

Call for images, #MatN2013 Twitter hashtag and 11 February publicity deadline

It’s great to see so many venues registering their Museums at Night events in our database – remember, we can’t start promoting what you’re doing until we know about it!

The first deadline to register your Museums at Night events in Culture24’s DDE database  is Monday 11 February 2013 – if you can add your event listing by this date, it will be considered for inclusion in this year’s BBC History Magazine Guide to Museums at Night, our printed brochure.

It will also be included in our big PR push out to long lead glossy magazines – so now is a great time to confirm your plans so as to take maximum advantage of our marketing work!

If you know what you’ll be doing, please log in to your Culture24 account here and add the new event listing, making sure to open the Programmes option and tick the box marked Museums at Night 2013.

screenshot demonstrating how to open and select the Museums at Night 2013 tickbox

Do describe your event making it sound as compelling as possible – what makes it unique, why is it unmissable, and what will visitors be able to experience if they come along?

If you haven’t yet confirmed your plans, but know that you’ll be doing something, you can log in and add as much detail as you can to your event listing as normal, but change the event status from Confirmed to Planning. This means that the Culture24 team will be able to see it and mention it in publicity, but it won’t be visible to the public until you log back in and switch the status to Confirmed.

screenshot showing how to change an event's status from Confirmed to Planning

Making the most of our marketing opportunities – send us your photos!

Our PR campaign is built around the stories and images from your events: the stronger these are, the more media interest and coverage the festival will get. So, please send us your photographs so that we can create the most eye-catching publicity material possible!

We need images that are high-resolution – at least 300dpi – and ideally which are taken at sunset, dusk or night-time. The pictures could be of the outside or inside of your venue, but should ideally involve interested people having a great time interacting with objects, collections or exhibitions at your venue.

A group of visitors snihing torches around an industrial water tank in the dark

An example of a good photo: visitors smiling as they discover Geevor Tin Mine in a new light (c) Bernie Pettersen

The sort of pictures which the media are most likely to be use involve people – cute kids are always good if your event is designed to appeal to a families; or if you’re going for more of a grown-up, aspirational audience, shots of glamorous people discovering your space with a glass of wine in hand may help set the tone.

Remember to ask parents’ permission before photographing children.

The images we receive which capture the spirit of the weekend could be featured in:

  • local, regional and national press coverage
  • the Culture24 website and Facebook page
  • this blog
  • BBC History Magazine’s printed Guide to Museums at Night
  • in presentations given by Culture24 staff
  • and in many of the other ways we promote Museums at Night events

Please email your images, and any photographers’ credits or copyright info, to me: rosie@culture24.org.uk.

Twitter hashtag #MatN2013

And finally, if you’re tweeting about your events, the official hashtag for this year’s festival is #MatN2013 – do include it, and we’ll retweet you!

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 rosie@culture24.org.uk, and I’ll give you a call next week.

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

Open survey: what are the barriers to participating in Museums at Night, and should we change the date?

Museums at Night project manager Nick and myself would like to thank all the venues who ran a Museums at Night event for giving us their feedback in the 2012 Venue Survey.

a girl in spotty pyjamas making crafts

Visitors enjoy after-hours craft activities at Norwich’s Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (c) Andi Sapey

Now we’d like to turn our attention to museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites who weren’t part of Museums at Night in 2012. Perhaps your venue has never run a Museums at Night event, or maybe you chose not to participate this year.

We’d like to know more about the main barriers to participating – lack of time, money, staff, or something else?

We’d also like to know what we could do to make it easier for you to run successful Museums at Night events – all suggestions are welcome!

Finally, and possibly most contentiously, we are considering moving the days of the Museums at Night festival. It will still take place around International Museums Day (18th May), but instead of running over Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings we are considering running over Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

We know that there are some strong feelings about this, and we don’t want to make a decision without finding out your views – so please help us shape the future of Museums at Night by filling in our 5 minute Date Change Survey!