If you’re too busy to visit museums on the weekend or if you’d prefer to see them in a slightly different light, Museums at Night provides the perfect opportunity. The purpose of this UK-wide festival is to attract more visitors into museums, galleries and heritage sites by putting on special evenings – some of which run all night. The festival will begin on Wednesday 13th May and conclude on Saturday 16th May.
The Museum at Night festival is coordinated by the non-profit organization Cutlure24 and deliberately takes place on the weekend nearest to 18th May – International Museums Day. Since the festival was taken over by Culture24 in 2009 it has grown rapidly. Now over 500 venues throughout the country are taking part, attracting over 100,000 visitors annually.
Dickens After Dark
For one night only on 15th May the Charles Dickens Museum – the former home of the late great author – will be hosting a night of traditional Victorian entertainment. Michael Slater will be providing readings from some of the classic stories penned in the house. In addition, film screenings will take place, and a supper will be served using Catherine Dickens’s original recipes.
The UK Supreme Court will be holding a special late opening on Thursday 14th May. During the evening court ushers will divulge what happens behind closed doors and judicial assistants will describe their own personal experiences. This will be followed by a courtroom drama theatre performance by the Inner Temple Amateur Dramatics Society and live jazz at the court bar. Booking is essential.
William Morris Gallery Iceland Exhibition
The William Morris Gallery will be hosting a “Sleepover Exhibition to Iceland” on 16th May. Here you will take an imaginary journey through the wonders of this mythical country – triple rainbows, lava fields and mountainous terrain. Tickets are only £15 per person and include breakfast, hands-on activities and a puppet show.
Natural History Museum Late
No trip to London would be complete without visiting the world famous Natural History Museum. Throughout the spring and summer it will be opening late every evening – entrance to the central hall will be completely free of charge; however, other exhibitions may require a fee. Throughout this time open-mic performances by up-and-coming musicians will take place during the evenings and there will be a pop-up restaurant serving traditional British cuisine.
Science Museum Late
The Science Museum will be hosting their “Late” event through the whole of May. No booking is necessary and entrance is completely free. Here you will have the chance to explore the museum with a beer in hand after stopping by one of the many pop-up bars that’ll be scattered throughout the premises. Other highlights include a silent disco, comedy show and pub quiz.
Museums at Night really is a fantastic festival that’s not to be missed. If you’re tired of seeing museums and galleries in their usual bland setting, it certainly makes a pleasant change. If you want to view London’s museums with an even more unique perspective, why not take a ride on The London Helicopter?