The Museum of London has announced two free weekend festivals as it prepares to close its London Wall site in December ahead of its relocation to West Smithfield.
The two "Greatest Weekends" will take place on 26 and 27 November, for a family weekend festival, and 3 and 4 December, the weekend festival for music. Visitors will have once final chance to visit the museum at its London Wall site before it closes on 4 December in preparation for the move to its new home at West Smithfield, where it will reopen in 2026 as the London Museum.
The festivities will include DJ sets, immersive theatre and late-night cinema. Visitors can also take part in London’s biggest table football competition inspired by free display ‘Harry Kane: I want to play football’ and the 2022 World Cup, with winners in with the chance of winning a signed shirt by the England captain.
For the first time in its history, the museum will be open 24 hours on Saturday 3 December, opening at 10.00am and closing for the last time on Sunday 4 December at 5.00pm. It has been at the London Wall site for 45 years, and the Greatest Weekends programme makes the culmination of the museum’s six-month programme of events to celebrate its time at the location.
Alongside table football, the first weekend festival will offer families a range of creative activities, with arts and crafts, face painting, a baby rave, theatrical performances, immersive tours, and pop-up musical performances.
The second weekend will get visitors moving to the sounds of London, exploring the capital’s greatest hits from five decades, featuring music genres such as disco, punk, dub, and grime from the 1970s to present day.
Sisu, a DJ platform showcasing women and non-binary DJs and producers, will perform live in the museum’s Ellipse Hall, where visitors can also see the museum’s free music display ‘Grime Stories: from the corner to the mainstream’. They will also be running a DJ workshop.
During the museum’s extended opening on the Saturday evening and into the early hours of Sunday morning, visitors will be able to enjoy a late-night film festival in collaboration with Film London, with the museum showing films and hosting discussions that celebrate the city of London. Visitors will also be able to see the museum’s galleries by night and see its collections from throughout London’s history.
The Museum of London Docklands remains open, and will become the London Museum Docklands from January 2023.
Sharon Ament, director of the Museum of London, said: “We have planned a fantastic party to celebrate the Museum of London’s 45 years at London Wall and I look forward to welcoming visitors old and new to mark the end of an era with us. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opened our site in 1976 and we have enjoyed some fantastic moments here – whether that’s marking the History of the Coronation, the 2012 Olympics, the Cheapside Hoard, or Vivienne Westwood’s wardrobe.
“Over 21 million people have visited our galleries to find out more about this great city, its history, and its people. We’re looking forward to one final hurrah before we continue the museum’s next chapter in our new location at West Smithfield.”
The Museum of London also announced that London venue Fabric has become the world’s first nightclub-in-residence. The partnership began with ‘My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be. (Down, skin, pelt, vellum, alert tangled roots, subcutaneous flesh, subterranean blind life)’, a new performance commission by artist Tai Shani for Art Night, which was staged at Fabric on 25 October. ‘My bodily remains’ featured an original live score by Shani’s long-term collaborator Maxwell Sterling and Richard Fearless.
Fabric is situated opposite the museum’s new location in West Smithfield, in a renovated Victorian building once used as a refrigerated warehouse serving Smithfield Meat Market. The museum’s building will occupy market buildings and save the historic General Market for future generations.
The museum will also work with Fabric in 2025 for a festival curated by Londoners hosted in and around the new museum building, offering Londoners a chance to see the restored General Market building alongside music, art commissions, food and events inspired by London and its people.