Over three nights in May, during which time hundreds of museums, galleries and historic spaces all over the UK will open up late and putting on a dazzling array of special night-time events: from unique literary talks in castles to star gazing in historic houses; sleepovers in palaces to city-wide culture crawls; bands playing in amongst museum exhibits to science fiction life drawing in galleries. The Museums at Night festival offers the chance to experience culture and heritage in a totally unexpected way.
Some of the Museums at Night highlights in London include:
- Horniman Museum & Gardens: Extremes Late, as Part of Museums at Night. Celebrating the opening a new family friendly exhibition Extremes, the Horniman reveals how artists react to extreme environments including hot music from Zimbabwee, extremely high acrobatics, storytelling by candlelight, surreal film screenings depicting submarine life.
In addition, celebrating ten years of their ground-breaking satirical artwork, the scurrilous, global cult comic artists Modern Toss will be putting on a very special evening for Museums at Night. The Modern Toss Late Night Activity Centre will feature a live drawing event F***YEUX Tapestry, which will see Modern Toss creators Jon Link and Mick Bunnage try to break their previous world record for the longest single panel cartoon with the word 'fuck' in it. Just turn up, they’ll supply the pen. There will also be an opportunity to experience what it feels like to be a cartoon character in a Modern Toss cartoon, and the Interactive Periodic Table of Swearing – press a button and it swears right back at you.
- William Morris Gallery: Mr Smith's Letterpress Workshop. Under the expert guidance of Kelvyn Smith, aka Mr Smith, visitors will be treated to a dramatic performance of one of Morris's socialist chants before using traditional type to create their own political slogans.
- RAF Museum, Hendon: Public Service Broadcasting.
London-based musical duo, Public Service Broadcasting are to play three exclusive gigs in a secret location at the RAF Museum in Hendon, North London, in what will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the Museums at Night festival. The RAF Museum will provide a fitting and atmospheric backdrop for the band who weave samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material around their electronic set. Also on the night, visitors can help knit a life-sized plane or dance to the Silent Disco in the shadow of an RAF Lancaster Bomber.
- London's Kensington Palace is throwing open its doors for a very special Museums at Night sleepover for children aged 7-11. Join us for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a Prince or Princess and enjoy an exclusive slumber party in a Royal Palace.
- Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre. Stressed out Londoners will be given the opportunity to grab forty winks at The Big Power Nap, (Friday 16May) which will be transforming the Undercroft gallery – the ruins of London’s Roman Amphitheatre - into a 2000 year old chill-out zone with ambient sounds and a roving masseuse on hand to provide a relaxing break from the buzz above. Meanwhile in the upper galleries, there will be cherub themed art installation – members of the public are invited to come and take part.
- Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology: It's a Murder at the Museum. An evening of intrigue and subterfuge await visitors as they solve clues across the Museum to crack the UCL Museum murder mystery. As well as a prize for the team who solves the case, there are prizes for the best dressed detectives, with a drinks reception in The Grant Museum.
- National Portrait Gallery: Late Shift Extra: In Parenthesis. In partnership with the English National Ballet present a dance performance at the Gallery inspired by David Jones' seminal poem of the First World War, In Parenthesis. Choreographed by George Williamson, the performance includes ballet and contemporary dance performed across the Gallery.
- London Transport Museum: Friday Late: Goodbye Piccadilly. Experience London life in 1914 at the opening of new exhibition "Goodbye Piccadilly - from home front to Western front" and find out the role London buses and bus drivers had in the First World War and how the city prepared for war. Fashionistas can explore the perfumes worn by the smart set `at a perfume workshop by Odette Toilette and create their own feathered fascinator with Spitalfield favourite Lulu O'Neil of Slightly Scarlett.
- Brunel Museum: Theatre of Blood, Dance of Death, Drink of Life. Pandemonium Theatre present their reinterpretation of Hecuba & Titus Andronicus in a dark place, the underground chamber where six men died and Brunel nearly drowned. Take part in Tango and Dance workshops and enjoy cocktails at the Midnight Apothecary, the legendary roof top pop-up cocktail bar.
- Bank of England: Banknotes and Bullion. This rare opportunity to visit the Bank of England Museum after hours also gives visitors a unique chance to try lifting a genuine gold bar weighing 13kg. Experts will also be on hand to talk about Bank of England notes, gold and any other questions visitors have.
- Firepower, The Royal Artillery Museum: Ghosts of the Royal Arsenal. The Royal Arsenal has a history of unfortunate events dating back hundreds of years. Visitors who are feeling brave can follow a guided tour around the site and find out why battle-hardened soldiers refuse to enter the Academy Building alone and why the staff at Firepower won't lock up alone. Banish the chill away with bangers and mash and a hot cup of tea or coffee at the end of the tour.
- Somerset House: Museums at Night. Following its success in previous years, Somerset House once again opens its doors for visitors to enjoy exhibitions and displays and participate in workshops, tours and screenings, all accompanied by live music in the Seamen's Hall.
- Natural History Museum: Dino Snores for Grown Ups: The ultimate sleepover. Anyone who's ever wondered what happens when the doors close in one of the world's most famous museums will find this an irresistible opportunity to find out! An unforgettable night of music, art, science and cinema - just don't forget to bring your sleeping bag.
- London Museums at Night: On the Museum Mile15 May 2014 6-9pm
Over two nights (15-16 May) many of the 13 Museums represented on a route stretching from Aldwych to Kings Cross will be opening their doors after-hours to the public, and pre-booked walking tours run by ‘In Midtown’ will move between selected venues. Discover some of the many connections between the museums of the ‘Mile’ through the people and objects represented in their collections.
Events are being added on a daily basis but full listings for Museums at Night can be found at www.museumsatnight.org.uk. For up to the minute news on Twitter follow @MuseumsatNight #MatN2014