Museums at Night extended to two annual events

Campaigns to take place in May and October
Gary Noakes
Museums at Night is to be extended to two dates this year, part of an ambition by organisers Culture24 to see a million public participants by 2020.

The event, now in its seventh year, will take place on 13-16 May and 30-31 October.

The October weekend will also feature Connect!, a competition in which events involving six high-profile artists will be awarded to venues following a public vote.

Last year’s Museums at Night event attracted 180,000 visitors to around 500 venues.

Culture 24 campaign manager Nick Stockman said it was hoped to expand the after-hours events to include every UK cultural venue by 2020.

“The idea of getting a second part is aiming towards that,” Stockman said. There are an estimated 6,000 cultural venues in the UK, although this figure includes libraries.

Stockman added: “The figures are not the important thing, what’s important is to create an environment in which museums and galleries are comfortable and excited about creating after-hours events.”

Museums at Night was initially championed by national galleries and museums and ties in with the European La Nuit des Musées. “A lot of smaller museums and galleries are switching onto it if they can, although it is sometimes a struggle to cover the extra costs,” Stockman said.

He added that the concept had caught the imagination of the public. “The whole concept of after-hours events is building up in this country. It’s just doing something different – going at a time when museums are not normally open combined with them putting on something different and new to draw the crowds in.”

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