We all know that London has some pretty amazing museums, but if you’re in the capital for work or with an especially packed schedule it can be difficult to fit them in. That is all set to change May 11th to 14th when institutions across London will throw open their doors for the Museums at Night event.
Not only will business travellers staying in serviced apartments in west London and elsewhere throughout the capital be able to take advantage of longer opening hours, but special events will be held too. It is a great opportunity to see a different side to London’s museums and is one that should not be missed.
Is it just museums?
Museums at Night is now in its eighth year, having proved a brilliant success previously. Its name is something of a misnomer, as it’s not just museums that are involved in the diverse programme of events. More than 30 venues in London are taking part, ranging from world-class museums to historic properties and even some of the city’s churches.
It’s also not just about extended opening hours and having a wander around. There are specially curated exhibitions, talks and presentations from experts on particular subjects, live music in places you wouldn’t normally expect it, unusual performances and atmospheric torch-lit tours.
There are so many things to choose from during Museums at Night, you’ll be spoilt for choice, but here are some of the events to consider.
TV presenter and conservationist Chris Packham has written an autobiography, Fingers in the Sparkle Jar, and there’s really only one place he could present it – the Natural History Museum. He’ll be talking about the book, his childhood and his love of observing nature, which he has turned into a career. A must for all nature lovers.
Home to some fascinating documents, the British Library will also be hosting some of Europe’s most imaginative storytellers for one night. Come and listen to their tales in these wonderful surroundings, as a diverse group of writers takes you on some incredible journeys.
Probably not one to attend if you have a fear of dolls, but wonderfully tantalising if you like a bit of the gothic. Quirky toys dating back to Victorian times, including unusual puppets and doll houses, will all be on display for an event specially put together to mark Museums at Night. There’s a scavenger hunt and object handling to make the experience even more interactive.
Right in the heart of The City at the Bank of England Museum, you can get up close and personal with the riches our country is built on after hours. You’ll be able to touch a bar of gold and see a real-life demonstration of how counterfeit notes are made. There will also be a unique opportunity to see the mock-up of the new £5 note due to be launched later this year, featuring Winston Churchill.
It’s always great to take some time for yourself and the Drawing Mindfully workshop at the National Gallery allows you to do just that. There’s no need to bring anything, just yourself, and you will be guided through the process of unlocking your creativity through mindfulness.
Step into the future and out of this world with a screening of the feature film Moon. Set in 2035, the astronaut Sam Bell is living on a base on the moon when he starts to experience hallucinations. As he prepares to return home, something happens that will change everything. Watch this wonderful film in the observatory’s planetarium, giving it a whole new dimension.
Some of the Museums at Night events are free entry while others are ticketed. It’s a good idea to check in advance and purchase tickets for anything you are desperate to attend to avoid disappointment on the night.