(Above) 1940s dancers welcomed the start of Museums at Night 2009. Picture © Charlotte Macpherson Photography
Lindyhoppers and a jumping jazz band ensured that Culture24’s Museums at Night 2009 launch got off to a swinging start aboard the Imperial War Museum’s HMS Belfast on May 5 2009.
Secretary of State for Culture, Andy Burnham and representatives from the cultural sector were transported back to the 1940s for a mini "boogie on the boat," offering a taste of what will be happening on the Museums at Night 2009 weekend on May 15 - 17 2009.
The Minister congratulated Culture24 and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) for working together to organise Museums at Night 2009. “Culture 24 is really showing how we can take forward all the great things that have been done in the past and open the doors of museums and galleries to new audiences," he said.
Secretary of State for Culture, Andy Burnham. Picture © Charlotte Macpherson Photography
“This is a European initiative and to have British museums and galleries as part of this is fantastic. Museums and galleries are truly showing their worth as educational resources at the heart of our towns and cities.
"I hope you will join me to celebrate what is truly a great event and thanks to Culture 24 and the MLA for working together - let's hope that Museums at Night 2009 is a great success."
More than 140 night-time events are taking place across the UK, and Burnham said he was keen to visit one of his local venues.
"You’ve got a bit of a PR job on your hands, as if your kids, like mine, have seen the film Night at the Museum then they are going to take some persuading to go into a museum at night," he joked. "My four-year-old is really not on for it at the moment – she thinks it might be a bit too scary."
1940s dancers. Picture © Charlotte Macpherson Photography
Culture24 journalists will be working across the weekend to provide rolling coverage of Museums at Night from towns and cities around the UK.
Culture24 chairman John Newbigin added: "Museums and galleries tend to operate in isolation and an event like this with national branding and which feels like a national event brings the whole sector together.
"Museums at Night offers an equality of opportunity to both small folk museums and the large National institutions and gives them a profile that they otherwise don't have."
John Newbigin and Andy Burnham. Picture © Charlotte Macpherson Photography
Culture24 director Jane Finnis thanked all of the museums for their hard work in organising the huge range of events that will be taking place over the Museums at Night weekend, as well as HMS Belfast and all the dancers and musicians who made the launch evening such a great success.
For more information on events taking place near you go to Culture24’s Museums at Night homepage and use our news stories, features and listings to help you decide how you would like to take part in Museums at Night 2009.
Battleship Boogie takes place on Saturday May 16 2009 - go to www.iwm.org.uk/hmsbelfast for more information or to book tickets.