Tag Archives: resources

Notes to Editors: press release boilerplate text for Museums at Night 2014

I’ve just had an enquiry from a venue sending out press releases to promote their event, who wanted to know whether there was any specific information to include about the Museums at Night festival.

Our standard boilerplate text explains what the Museums at Night festival is, and introduces Culture24 (the non-profit online cultural publisher that coordinates the festival) and Arts Council England, the core funder of the festival.

Here’s the Notes to Editors text: you can also download this as a 1 page Word document.

Notes to Editors:

1. Museums at Night is the annual after-hours festival of arts, culture and heritage when hundreds of museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites open their doors for special evening events. It takes place over the weekend of Thursday 15 to Saturday 17, 2014. www.museumsatnight.org.uk

2. Culture24 is a non-profit cultural publishing organisation supporting arts and heritage venues to reach audiences across digital platforms. We collect and share cultural data, publish websites, run the national Museums at Night campaign and lead action research projects. www.WeAreCulture24.org.uk

3. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk

Museums at Night logo

You can also download many variations on this Museums at Night logo – along with poster and flyer templates you can customise to promote your events – over on our Resources for Venues page.

If you have any questions, please call Rosie on 01273 623336 – we’re here to help!

Do something different screencast: event marketing on a shoestring

I recorded this screencast for the Arts Marketing Association’s Culturehive website, which aims to collate and share best practice in cultural marketing.

The 40 minute video shares some of my top tips for planning and marketing events, and includes examples from lots of Museums at Night events.

It covers idea generation; ways of involving staff and volunteers; how to add value while keeping costs low; pricing; hyper-local marketing on a shoestring; working in partnership; what makes a successful event; and how to convert visitors into fans.

Thanks to the lovely team at the AMA, I’m able to share it with you all – but only until Museums at Night! Take a look now, as the videos will disappear at the end of May!

More authors available for your Museums at Night events!

Thanks for your feedback on the list of children’s authors we shared in November – at least eight venues have now been matched up with writers who’ll be giving readings as part of their Museums at Night events.

Book cover

We’re pleased to share an updated list of authors available for your Museums at Night 2014 events: some write for children, some for young adults and some for adults.

The list includes authors who focus on a range of subjects which could tie in with your venue’s collections, such as Victorian Gothic novelist Essie Fox, World War I writer Louisa Young, and Viking fantasy writer Snorri Kristjansson.

You can download the latest list of authors willing to speak at Museums at Night events here.

If you are interested in a particular author, double check their restrictions – some are only able to go to venues within a certain geographical area, most have specified the age groups their books are intended for, and many have set the minimum or maximum number of people they prefer to come and perform for.

Be aware that all events featuring these authors will usually end with a sale of their books, and in many cases a book signing session for visitors – do you have the space and staffing capacity to deliver this successfully?

Read our case study on delivering a successful author event to gain more of an idea about how this can work.

Your next step

If you’d like to invite one of our latest list of authors to your venue for Museums at Night, please call Nick or Rosie on 01273 623336.

Welsh and bilingual Museums at Night logos

We’re delighted to share with you Welsh and Welsh/English versions of the Museums at Night logo, courtesy of CyMAL: Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales, and our design agency Crush.

Museums at Night bilingual logo

Now, in addition to our range of English language Museums at Night logos, which you can access from our Resources for Venues page, we have a range of bilingual logos and Welsh logos, all available as JPEG, EPS and PNG files.

Bilingual Museums at Night logo white on black

 

You can download a zip file of all of the Welsh logos here (1.8MB), or select individual logos to download on our Resources for Venues page. 

amgueddfeydd yn y nos logo

 

We hope these new logos make it much easier for any venues running Museums at Night / Amgueddfeydd yn y Nos events to promote and publicise them!

Guest post: Liha Okunniwa on The Wilson’s outreach to young people

Ever thought about setting up a Young People Group at your museum or gallery to help you diversify your audiences? Today’s guest blog post comes from Liha Okunniwa, who did just that at The Wilson, Cheltenham’s Art Gallery & Museum.  

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Museums often find working with young people challenging and see them as a ‘hard to reach audience.’ The idea of setting up a young persons group is something that is seen by many as a daunting prospect. However, once you take the leap, the benefits in terms of audience development and young people acting as ambassadors are myriad.

Here are three simple tips if your institution is thinking about setting up a Young Persons Group:

1. Realise that you are hard to reach for them and not the other way round. Once you start seeing things from a different perspective you may find that there are things you have missed.

What can you do to make them young people feel more comfortable and reassure them that they are welcome? How can you make them realise they don’t need to know lots about art to enjoy your building?

2. Go where they are: When I was recruiting members for The Wilson Collective, I found events where young people were, and planned tailor-made activities for those events rather than waiting for them to come to me. I designed a “design a deck skate” activity / contest for the local skate park and a sleeve-face activity for a local music festival.

3. Diversify: Think of other events that you could hold in your Museum spaces.

Are there local groups of young people who need to rehearse for drama, music or a play? Do you have a space they could use? If so, somewhere_to from the Arts council is a great initiative. All you have to do is sign up at http://somewhereto.com/ and wait for the enquiries to come in. Once the young people have had fun and discovered your building, get them to sign up!

Two teenagers playing a guitar

Musicians Shaquille Douglas, aka @Alluzeion, and
Shawn Wheatley aka Chiggy, at the Wilson
(c) Simon de Knock

For Museums at Night, our young people’s group the Wilson Collective are planning an open mic evening that will fill a gap in Gloucestershire’s arts provision for young upcoming musicians.

This event will give them a platform and a chance to meet other local musicians to jam with. It will also be recorded and broadcast on YouTube, providing a vital resource for the young musicians to further their careers. The event will be marketed by The Wilson Collective ambassadors, word of mouth and social media.

We’re also part of the Museums at Night Connect10 competition: we’re hoping to win Fred Deakin from Lemon Jelly to bring in a wider audience and kickstart what we hope will be the first of many music events at The Wilson.

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A woman in a denim jacket smilingLiha Okunniwa has been Outreach Officer at The Wilson for four years. She is focusing on Audience Development and programming for The Wilson’s dedicated young person’s space, 51. Follow them on Twitter: @thewilsonchelt

Liha is also Creative Director of Bookish Design, an art publishing business that promotes classic literature.

Can a small venue take part in the Connect10 competition?

A man clinging on to the column of a building, with a streak of glowing neon

Connect10 artist Alex Hartley shinning up the columns at the Bank of England – how might he engage with your venue’s architecture? (c) Alex Hartley

A very small museum recently got in touch to ask whether they had any hope of taking part in the Connect10 competition to win an artist for their Museums at Night event. My response was a resounding “Yes!”

Take a look at the list of Connect10 artists available for Museums at Night 2014: we encourage venues of all sizes to think whether there might be a connection between one of the artists and your venue, collections or location. The artists’ ideas are very approximate and are intended to give you some background about the sort of things that inspire them and the way they like to work.

Going outside

Events don’t have to take place inside your building! Susan Forsyth’s Zusammen choir procession around the streets of Rochdale was a great example of community outreach, touring around significant places from the town’s history, pausing by sites of interest and ending up outside the Rochdale Pioneers Museum, before inviting everyone into the historic church across the street for tea and biscuits.

Size is no object when it comes to attracting votes

A man holding a sign with his name on in a library, with a t shirt hanging up behind him

One of the campaigners Connect10 artist Simon Roberts recorded at the Working Class Movement Library’s Museums at Night event in 2012 (c) Simon Roberts

Connect10 artists have been won by small venues in the past, for example, the Working Class Movement Library in Salford, which incidentally attracted the largest number of votes ever counted in the whole competition!

Internal marketing

However, it’s important that you’re aware that being part of Connect10 takes up a considerable amount of staff time, in reaching out to new audiences for votes during the competition stage, planning the event in collaboration with your artist if you win, maximising the amount of publicity you get and ensuring everything is in place for a successful event on the night. Talk with your team of staff and volunteers to see if they’re enthusiastic about the possibilities, or not.

Getting stakeholders on board

It could also be helpful to talk with other local arts or heritage venues, your Museum Development Officer, or your local communications team if you’re a council-run venue, to get any key stakeholders on board.

Joint bids

If you think your organisation would be taking on too much by applying for a Connect10 artist on your own, you might like to consider working together with another local organisation on a joint bid.

Connect10 artists and winning venues shared their experiences here – these presentations may be helpful to have a look at as they share the challenges and successes encountered by people involved in the competition in previous years.

We’ve put together this page with all the Connect10 links and helpful resources in one place.

Nick and I are always happy to have a chat on the phone with you, if that would be useful – we’re here to help! The direct line is 01273 623336.

Finally, if you’re keen to go ahead and apply to win a top Connect10 artist and a £2000 bursary for your Museums at Night event, here’s the 2 page entry form you’ll need to fill in by 5pm on Friday 22 November.

How to work together and form a Museums at Night cluster

As part of our Museums at Night briefing sessions, which Nick and I held in London, Birmingham and Bradford (and will also be bringing to Wrexham and Cardiff next week), we invited experts who had run Museums at Night clusters to share their experiences and recommendations.

A family group writing at a table, guided by an explorer

Egyptian Explorers at Blackburn Museum, part of the Pennine Lancashire cluster of Museums at Night activity (c) Bob Singleton, Pixel

Heritage and Audience Development Consultant Laura Crossley shared her recommendations for getting local heritage organisations to work together to plan and market a joint programme of Museums at Night events, using three contrasting case studies from the Norfolk area.

Why does Laura value clusters so much? In her own words,

Clusters are a fantastic way to:

  • Create something that’s more than the sum of its parts. Even very small events become something big when combined with other events and marketed as a complete visitor offer.
  • Attract lots of visitors. People are much more likely to come out if they can attend more than one event in an evening.
  • Get great media coverage.
  • Garner local long-term support by bringing new visitors to your venue who’ll want to come back again and again.
  • Improve partnership working between venues in the same location.

Sounds too good to be true? Here’s the evidence… I managed the Victorian Nights Festival, which saw 12 Museums at Night events across 9 venues in North Norfolk in 2012.

  • 3,252 people attended the festival.
  • 60% of visitors were first time visitors to venues. 
  • 91% of visitors said they would definitely return to participating venues in the future.
  • £50,000 was spent in the local economy over the festival weekend.
  • 32 print and web articles with an AVE of £28,651 were produced about the festival.
  • 138 volunteers supported the festival.

Read more of Laura’s key recommendations for organising a cluster over on her blog.

Lindsey Braidley, Learning & Programmes Co-ordinator for Heritage Services at Bath & North East Somerset Council spoke at Culture24’s Museums at Night briefing session in Birmingham.

Using these slides, Lindsey shared how the Bath cluster of Museums at Night festival activity grew to encompass more venues and different themes over the last few years, and how they’ve overcome funding challenges and collaborated with different local initiatives to keep their activities fresh and interesting.

Her top tips include involving local tourism organisations in planning and promoting your joint offer, and (if you’re organising a succession of events on the same evening) attracting a large group of people to your first event by making it a dinner or a food-related experience, before setting them off across town to explore your other events.

Elaine Lees from Creativity Works in Pennine Lancashire explained how she successfully bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a new Museums at Night cluster of activity in her area, the Festival of Wonders. She covered how she got multiple museums and libraries on board, how they promoted their events, the challenges that they overcame and their plans for the future.

Christina Grogan from Open Culture in Liverpool shared the story of the phenomenal success of Liverpool’s Museums at Night strand of programming, Light Night. She suggested tips on bringing together a range of partner organisations, joint marketing and promotion, and the value of bringing the city centre to life with animation, performances, and hundreds of late openings and special events.

If you’re interested in forming a cluster to work together on planning and promoting Museums at Night events in your area, do get in touch with us: we’re happy to help in talking through plans, and can connect you with people who have made clusters work successfully before.