The Golden Hinde ship in London illuminated as part of the Museums at Night festival

Museums at Night festival comes to an end

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 29.01.2020
Biannual event cancelled due to lack of funding
The twice yearly Museums at Night festival has been axed due to a lack of sustainable funding, Culture24 has announced.

The arts and heritage charity, which has run the event since 2009, said the festival had not received any public funding since 2017 and, in spite of its efforts, a new sponsor could not be found. 

In a statement, the charity said: “Culture24 has carried out extensive research and consultation to explore possible routes forward for the festival, and invested money and time in trying to find a sponsor but none of these routes have borne fruit. With no viable option on the table there is no sustainable funding mechanism left to support the festival.”

Hundreds of museums across the UK run after-hours events for the festival, which takes place in May and October. Culture24 confirmed that the event will not take place this year or at any future date. 

It said: “If museums still wish to run a lates event on the dates in May and October previously earmarked for Museums at Night, they are of course free to do so. However the events cannot be branded Museums at Night (to avoid public confusion) and the current branding cannot be used as the license for using the designs has now expired.”

Last year, Culture24 trialled a pilot London-wide lates event, the Emerge Festival. It said: “Going forward, Culture24 remains committed to nurturing a culture of lates in a sustainable and creative way and is considering the best ways to build on our lates expertise and the pilot year of London’s Emerge Festival to further support museums.” 

Culture24 said it was pleased to see that expertise on after-hours events had become much more widespread among museums since it took the festival over in 2009. It said its knowledge bank of research and practical resources on museum lates will remain freely accessible online.

The organisation also confirmed that LightNight Liverpool and the Late Shows in NewcastleGatehead will continue as normal and will not be affected by its decision. The Late Shows remains part of the International Night of Museums which takes place this year on Saturday 16 May. 

Culture24 said: “We would like to thank all the hundreds of thousands of people who have organised, participated in and attended Museums at Night events over the years for their support, encouragement and enthusiasm.”

Comments

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29.01.2020, 22:49
I hadn't realized Museums at Night was still happening as a nationwide event! And I missed the branding which no one is now allowed to use. It joins the long list of branding/promotional exercises (which are often well-thought out but rarely properly funded for long) such as Museums & Galleries Day/Week/Month/gone.

Checking out the French equivalent, the French MInistry of Culture backs their annual Nuit des Musees.

However, according to the site ( https://nuitdesmusees.culture.gouv.fr/En-pratique/Espace-organisateurs/Comment-participer) 'european museums across Europe can still participate and presumably translate the phrase into their own languages. However, the events must be free to enter.