Tag Archives: Museums at Night 2012

Read the Evaluation of Museums at Night 2012

Hello again from Project Manager Nick Stockman and myself – we hope you all had a good summer, and we’re happy to be back … and delighted to share with you the Evaluation Report looking at the Museums at Night 2012 festival!

A colourful graphic image from a report

See Museums at Night stats presented differently in this year’s Executive Summary

Download the Executive Summary (3 page PDF, 414 KB)
Download the full Evaluation (22 page PDF, 3.8 MB)

The key statistics are:

2012 was a record-breaking year for the Museums at Night festival, with 416 venues running 537 events.

121,000 visits were made: 43,000 people were new to the venues they visited, while 5,000 had never been to an arts or heritage venue before.

Media coverage was valued at £3.4 million AVE, including a Sky Arts documentary and over 2,000 pages of press cuttings.

This is terrific, and we’re very grateful to everyone who helped make the festival such a success.

We’re looking forward to working with you again on a brilliant Museums at Night festival for 2013 – we hope to offer you more event packages, more inspiring resources, and more promotional support to make this the most successful festival ever.

Don’t forget that we’ve shifted the dates by one day – it will now run from Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th May 2013.

Want to be the first to get news from the Museums at Night campaign team? Sign up for our monthly email newsletter!

Battling volunteers save the day at the Helicopter Museum

Nick and I are busily working on our evaluation of this year’s festival, and some fascinating stories are emerging from venues explaining what happened behind the scenes of their Museums at Night events!

I was intrigued to receive an email from Lee Mills, General Manager of the Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare, asking “If there is an award for museum volunteers going beyond the call of duty for Museums at Night, please can I nominate my team?

Each year for Museums at Night, the Helicopter Museum combines their annual Flight Simulator Convention with some kind of re-enactment event. This year they’d decided to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War.

But what exactly did Lee’s team do that was so significant? Lee explains:

The event itself was a huge success and will never be forgotten (probably for all the wrong reasons).

A soldier crawls through a smoky field with a gun

Just another day for a regular re-enactor … or is it? (c) Helicopter Museum

As you know we staged a Falklands re-enactment on the Saturday.

We had all the pyrotechnics in place, the Argentine dressed re-enactors were here in costume, we were just waiting for the British re-enactment group.

soldiers with old helicopters amid clouds of smoke

Pyrotechnics create an atmospheric setting for a military reenactment (c) Helicopter Museum

And then – on the day – they cancelled on us. NO BRITISH TROOPS in a Falklands re-enactment!

So, in the greatest sense of “the show must go on”, myself and the museum volunteers (who were luckily all dressed up in camouflage costume for the event) took a crash course in how to work the dummy guns.

Reenactors playing British soldiers with guns

The costumed volunteers bravely clutch their weapons as smoke drifts across the battlefield (c) Helicopter Museum

We then ran the gauntlet of smoke grenades, pyrotechnic explosions, firing caps and overhead mortar fire to capture the Argentine gun emplacement in front of a crowd of over 400 people.

A soldier with a helicopter

Would you have guessed that this soldier in deep concentration was a plucky museum volunteer? (c) Helicopter Museum


Like I said it will never be forgotten.

Wow! What a story. Thanks for sharing it, Lee, and congratulations to your redoubtable volunteers!

If you involved volunteers in your Museums at Night event, like 71% of the participating venues we surveyed, do you have a story to tell about the difference they made? Email me: rosie@culture24.org.uk!

(NB. I’m keen to showcase all kinds of stories from the arts and heritage sector here on the blog – your volunteers don’t need to be doing anything as epic or dramatic as running the gauntlet of smoke grenades, pyrotechnic explosions, firing caps and overhead mortar fire to capture an Argentine gun emplacement. Can anyone top this?)

Should we change the dates of Museums at Night? Complete our venue survey and win prizes!

Reading the responses museums and galleries have shared in the Museums at Night 2012 Venue Survey is an education as always!

Each year after the festival is over, we survey all the venues who ran an event.

As Museums at Night grows bigger each year, with more and more organisations participating, it’s very important to find out what your on-the-ground experience of running an event was like, and whether there were any points where the Culture24 team could have offered you more help or different resources.

Would you run a Museums at Night evening event on a Thursday?

This year we’re also asking whether you’d be more likely to take part again in future if Museums at Night took place on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday rather than a Friday, Saturday and Sunday as it currently does.

We need another 90 venues who ran a Museums at Night event to fill in our survey by Friday, to make the resulting data statistically valid – so please take 10 minutes to give us your thoughts about the festival here!

Finish the survey and win a prize!

If you complete the Museums at Night venue survey by Friday, you’ll be in the running to win one of 2 great prizes – a £50 Amazon voucher or a complete set of Raymond Chandler’s novels.

A stack of Raymond Chandler novels

Just look at the lovely books you could win – if you complete the survey in the next 2 days!

This fantastic set of books includes The Big Sleep; Farewell, My Lovely; The High Window; The Lady in the Lake; The Little Sister; The Long Goodbye; Playback; and Trouble is my Business – along with a very striking poster!

This prize comes courtesy of the lovely people at Penguin Books.

For the chance to win, simply complete our survey by Friday 15 June!

How can we improve Museums at Night?

It’s really interesting reading the results from our surveys, and finding out how the Museums at Night campaign impacted on museums, galleries and heritage sites around the country.

Thank you to everybody who has already taken the time to share what worked well, and where the festival could be improved – we read every response, and your feedback is a key part of the festival evaluation.

If you ran a Museums at Night event, we want your feedback by Friday 1 June!

Please fill in this simple survey now! 

It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, and will really help Nick and I to do an even better job of supporting you and your team next year.

You can even win a £50 Amazon voucher!

Thanks very much indeed.

A group of children with torches in a library at night

Hunting high and low for your Museums at Night feedback! Torchlit tour, part of a Doctor Who themed sleepover (c) John Rylands Library, Manchester

Museums at Night 2012 – how was it for you?

We’re still reeling from the intensity of Museums at Night weekend – this was definitely the biggest festival ever! We’d like to thank everybody involved, from our funders to our partners, but particularly the staff and volunteers at the participating venues.

A group of kids in a museum in sleeping bags with a stuffed lion

Children bedding down for the night at Sunderland Museum’s sleepover under the watchful eye of Wallace the lion (c) Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

How was it for you?

We would love to hear what you thought, and how we could improve Museums at Night in future years.

If your venue ran an event, please fill in our venue survey: you could win a £50 Amazon voucher!

If you attended an event, please fill in our visitor survey: you could also win a £50 Amazon voucher!

Staying in touch with new visitors

Venues, if you’re sending follow-up emails, tweets or Facebook posts to the visitors who came to your Museums at Night event, we’d really appreciate it if you included a link to our visitor survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TLSVSNZ

In the spirit of sharing best practice, here’s what the Towner Gallery wrote in an email when they contacted their Museums at Night event visitors yesterday: note the fact that they mention prizes, and invite their visitors to a different special after-hours event!

Subject: Win £50 + Melting Vinyl tickets

Dear Nick

We hope you enjoyed the Museums at Nightclub and succeeded in graduating from the University of Misunderstanding!

We would be very grateful if you would fill out a short survey to tell us what you thought of the event.  It only takes a minute, and as a thank you for your time, you will be entered into a draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher or a pair of tickets to a Melting Vinyl gig of your choice*!

Take the Museums at Night survey

Please note this survey is for everyone who attended a Museums at Night event across the UK, so you’ll have to fill in “Towner” as the venue. Museums at Night are offering one winner a £50 Amazon voucher, but we are also offering the Melting Vinyl tickets only to people who attended Towner’s event, so you’re in with a good chance of winning!

We would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to a special event at Towner on Thursday 31 May – join us for A Night to Remember, and you could win a limited edition artwork!

Hope to see you again soon students,

The Towner team

*Melting Vinyl tickets valid for any gig til the end of the year, unless sold out

Stories and photos

Nick and I are also fascinated to hear about anything special you did that made your event a success.

We’d also love to see your photos – please either email them to nick@culture24.org.uk, or share them into the Museums at Night 2012 Flickr archive here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/museumsatnight2012

Photos you share with us could well be seen by thousands of people, as we use them in email newsletters, on the blog and the Culture24 website, and in the festival evaluation which we’ll be working on for the next couple of months.

News from Europe

Museums at Night in Moscow saw one in ten residents visit a museum! Their mascot for the evening was Bandit the Fox, and they invited their fans to replace their avatar on social networks with Bandit’s face, to show that they’d be going to a Museums at Night event.

Event review: Culture24’s Jack Shoulder encounters ghostly goings-on at Preston Manor

The second of today’s Museums at Night event reviews comes from Culture24’s Jack Shoulder, who investigated ghostly goings-on with the housemaids of Preston Manor in Brighton.


The sun was slowly sinking below the horizon as I made my way towards one of the oldest and most haunted buildings in Brighton.

Darkness falls upon haunted historic house Preston Manor (c) Jack Shoulder

A sense of trepidation was gnawing at me: what had I let myself in for?

What if there were no crooked real estate agents waiting to be unmasked by a plucky gang of youths and their talking dog?

What if there was actually a g-g-g-ghost?

Putting me, and the rest of the group instantly at ease – no easy task considering the range of people present – was housemaid Daisy.

“You’re the reporters from the paper here about them murders?”

This bit of make-believe made the supernatural much less scary for the younger members of the group.

We were soon joined by Maisy, whose comedic entrance sets the light-hearted tone of the evening.

There were some chills, yes, but the laughs provided by the double-act stopped the nightmares from setting in, even when the ghost stories took a darker turn as the night went on.

On nights like this, there is always the danger that the fictions will overshadow the facts. However, Daisy and Maisy were able to tell the stories of the house without getting bogged down by the things that go bump in the night.


A man with dark hairJack Shoulder is the BBC Activities Assistant at Culture24. He also works for the British Museum and volunteers with the charity Kids in Museums.

In his free time he blogs about his adventures in museums: http://jacksadventuresinmuseumland.wordpress.com/

Follow Jack on Twitter at @jackshoulder.


Thanks, Jack!

If you went to a Museums at Night event, please let us know your thoughts by filling in this survey, so we can improve the festival in future years.

Museums at Night 2012 is here!

Museums at Night is here at last – and the last 24 hours have been a whirlwind of activity for the Culture24 team behind the scenes!

Our partnership with the Huffington Post saw them republish posts from this blog showcasing various museum voices: Emma Black from Surgeons’ Hall Museum, Lindsey Braidley from Bath Museums, Teresa Fox-Wells from Borough Museum & Art Gallery, Katherine Biggs from Kew Bridge Steam Museumblogger Ben Wallace and myself.

Bompas & Parr and their team arrived at Brunel’s SS Great Britain, and have shared photos  of their Herculean task flooding the ship with lurid lime green jelly.

A woman spreading green jelly around a ship

Bompas & Parr’s team spreading their green jelly installation around the base of ss Great Britain (c) ss Great Britain

We also have a wonderful video of the jelly being installed and glimmering eerily in the darkness – if you’re in Bristol and you haven’t witnessed this incredible sight, head down there to discover this unique spectacle tonight!

Friday morning kicked off with our lovely festival ambassador Lauren Laverne enthusing about Museums at Night on the Radio 5 Live breakfast show. The station has a large and enthusiastic audience, and within minutes of Lauren’s talk  hundreds of people were tweeting about the festival and coming to the Museums at Night website to look for events!

Lauren also interviewed the indie band Django Django (who played at National Museum of Scotland’s sold-out Museums at Night event) on her BBC 6 Music show, and again sent a new audience to find out more about the festival!

Culture24 CEO Jane Finnis spoke on Gaby Roslin’s show on BBC Radio London early in the morning, and also appeared on the Review Show with Kirsty Wark in the evening, discussing Museums at Night. You can watch the Review Show here for the next 7 days: Jane’s segment begins around 38:30 minutes in.

Museums at Night Campaigns Manager Nick Stockman was interviewed by a Polish radio station, and headed up to Liverpool to speak at the launch of Light Night – here’s his review of Polly Morgan’s taxidermy performance at the Victoria Gallery & Museum.

I was interviewed by Splash FM yesterday, and BBC Radio Sussex at the shocking hour of 6:40 this morning, wrote about Museums at Night for the DCMS blog, and last night visited Mind the Map at London Transport Museum.

Arts writer Mark Sheerin visited the Alfred Wallis exhibition at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, while Culture24 reporter Ben Miller tweeted his photographs from Museums at Night events at 4 Oxford museums.

The rest of Team Culture24 are out at Museums at Night events tonight and tomorrow too – so why not join them? Find events in your area at www.museumsatnight.org.uk.