Museums at Night 2012: Festival fun for families

| 16 May 2012
A photo of two children and a woman looking at a large book inside a museum
Fun and learning at Sudbury Hall in a Museums at Night weekend with plenty of activities for families to share© National Trust

Whether you’re a grandparent entertaining toddlers or a dad getting down with the teenagers, Museums at Night provides plenty of fun for families of all ages and sizes.

An Atomic Evening at Caithness Horizons serves up punch and nuclear jelly. Dressing up as a dapper Tudor Prince is on the menu at Havering Museum in Romford, and there are insights into bygone photos of Leicester past courtesy of Newarke House Museum and Gardens.

Torchlight tours are always fun and Leeds Museum Discovery Centre will be revealing elephant skulls and log boats on theirs. Or try Craven and Ipswich Museums by torchlight and discover everything from mammoths to mummies. 

The wonderfully-named Return of the Leeches at Newcastle Borough Museum sees the barriers come down as the museum comes to life, and storytelling at Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum travels from the depths of the Stone Age to modern Salisbury.

There’s more family storytelling at Dove Cottage and the Museum of the Isles, or an interactive murder trail at Nottingham’s Galleries of Justice.

And in a programme brimming with options for kids, the pyjama party with storybook characters at Sudbury Hall’s Museum of Childhood could take some eclipsing.

The University of Aberdeen’s and Zoology Museum are uniting for an animalistic evening. With 75,000 specimens to choose from, the live animal-handling, cupcake transformations, trees of life, cave painting, prehistoric objects, taletelling and craft sessions (to make snow goggles, naturally) should keep everyone giggling.

That’s something Don Stenhouse, of Bolton Museum, Aquarium and Archive, will also be enjoying on two tours of the Wildlife on your Doorstep Gallery at the popular Lancashire venue.

There are also reptiles and creepy-crawlies at the Rugby Museum and Art Gallery, where you can also see a local art group do their damnedest to impersonate artists from the collection in costumed demonstrations of painting techniques, accompanied by musical sessions led by instrumentalists.

They’ll have some way to go to out-parp Rag Bag Morris, the Borders folk music and dance team who’ll be performing by blazing torchlight in front of the magnificent Paxton House up in Berwick, where Georgian dress and storytelling also lie in wait (costumes encouraged).

Time travel is a consistent theme – Chawton House Library has Edwardian staff and activities entertaining everyone, and it’s back to the Bickershaw Pop Festival of 1972 – a 40th anniversary worth remembering, considering The Kinks and The Grateful Dead featured on an incredible bill – at the Museum of Wigan Life, where kids can make giant festival posters.
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