The National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich are participating in this year's Museums at Night festival. Image: Royal Museums Greenwich

Museums and galleries gear up for Museums at Night

Geraldine Kendall, 17.05.2012
Hundreds of after-hours events taking place across the UK this weekend
Museums, galleries and heritage sites up and down the country are preparing for this year’s Museums at Night festival, which kicks off on International Museum Day on Friday 18 May and runs until Sunday 20 May.

Institutions will open their doors for hundreds of evening and all-night events over the course of the festival, which is run by Culture24 and funded by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, among others. Last year’s festival brought over 100,000 visitors to participating institutions.

Levant and Geevor Tin Mines in Cornwall are running guided night-time tours offering visitors an opportunity to visit parts of the buildings not normally open to the public.

The volunteer-run Hovercraft Museum in Lee-on-Solent, which only opens six times a year, is planning an evening illumination of its vessels accompanied by live music.

A host of venues are running ghost tours by torch- or candlelight, séances and other paranormal activities, including Shaw House in Newbury, Peterborough Museum and Gallery and Preston Manor in Brighton.

Paisley Museum’s Murder Mystery Evening aims to draw spectators into a “living nightmare” using strange artefacts from the collection, while the Red House Museum in Christchurch will play host to a medieval barber surgeon telling stories of bloodletting and leeches.

For families and younger children, activities like storytelling and pyjama parties will be taking place at Dove Cottage in the Lake District, Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum and Sudbury Hall’s Museum of Childhood.

In Scotland, the Whithorn Trust is creating an illuminated labyrinth walk with bat watching and stargazing along the way, while the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is hosting a literary evening of avant-garde poetry readings, film and music.

For full details of the weekend’s events, click here