Museums at Night 2010: exploring this May's family friendly events

By Rachel Hayward | 11 March 2010
Showing two grils in Tudor finery looking in a mirror

Museums at Night 2010 is all about doing something different – have you ever taken the kids to a museum at night-time? Courtesy Mary Rose Museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Museums at Night takes place over the weekend of Friday 14 - Sunday 16 May, 2010

Use our Culture24 quick search for all family-friendly Museum at Night 2010 events or follow Culture24 Learners and Teachers' Editor and mum of two, Rachel Hayward, as she looks forward to this year's treats for families.

Until last year, the nearest I'd got to a late activity with my sons was a trip to the cinema, but I decided to take the boys along to some Museums at Night 18th century surgery events I was covering. We all definitely experienced something new.

Listening to tales of midnight body snatching with the knowledge that bones from Benjamin Franklin House's former incarnation as an anatomy school were under our feet and a demonstration of how legs were removed without anaesthetic at the Old Operating Theatre were not events for the squeamish.

But my Doctor Who loving sons relished being "time travellers" in the very buildings where these gory events had once taken place.

Showing a boy in stripy tshirt and jeans holding a skull on a spiral staircase

Be afraid: climbing the stairs up to the Old Operating Theatre in London sets the tone for a fantastically macabre Museums at Night experience. © Rachel Hayward / Culture24

Museums at Night 2010 Thrillers
There are plenty of family-friendly events with a similarly ghastly feel to them happening around the UK besides Surgery by Gaslight & Other Medical Tales at the Old Operating Theatre and Late Night Historical Experience at Benjamin Franklin House.

Here are a few to inspire you to catch a Museums at Night event or two on the weekend:

Domesday connection:Take a torch to Denny Abbey, an 11th century stronghold mentioned in the Domesday Book, and meet some of the characters who succeeded its original Benedictine monk inhabitants, including a Countess and Fen man's wife, along with tales of witches and folklore. Find out more with Abbey After hours at the Farmland Museum and Denny Abbey.

Showing the outside of the classical inspired Galleries of Justice building in Nottingham at night with an imposing column either side of the main entrance

Courtesy NCCL Galleries of Justice, Nottingham

Off with his head: The recent BBC series of Robin Hood and forthcoming film starring Russell Crowe make the Villainous Sheriff of Nottingham tour a timely Museums at Night event. The Sheriff himself awaits you at Nottingham's Galleries of Justice for an interactive performance that promises to be lots of fun.

Your money or your life: At Wirksworth Heritage Centre in Derbyshire, children can become 19th century highway robbers in fancy dress as part of their Stand and Deliver! event.

Museums at Night 2010 has so much more for families…
Museums at Night 2010 family events reflect the rich variety of museums and other cultural venues round the UK, so if the scary is not for you, here's a selection of other happenings:

Victorian amusements: Why not dress up in Victorian finery for celebrations at Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire, complete with side stalls and bygone games for their event A Night with the Victorians?

Showing a girl and a boy sitting on the edge of the Roman Baths in Bath with the arches surrounding the Baths and the Cathedral in the background

Courtesy Bath and North East Somerset Museums

The Romans are coming: Bath comes alive with Museums at Night. At The Roman Baths, you can explore the torchlit Great Bath and newly interpreted museum and find out about a variety of crafts and skills.

There will be a demonstration by a local stonemason near the newly displayed Temple Pediment, which is one of the Somerset objects contributing to the major new BBC project, A History of the World in 100 Objects.

Other demonstrations include a Roman scribe writing in Latin using a replica stylus who will be in a newly displayed area on Roman worship, a pottery demonstrator making two types of tiles used in the Roman underfloor central heating system and Roman roof tile making.

SouthGate Shopping Centre will be hosting a drama piece where members of the public will be invited to take part in painting a Bath masterpiece by numbers.

You might discover a hidden talent you never knew you had and the kids will get to tell their teacher how hands-on with history they've been getting.

Circus fun: The Time and Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth Life has a Circus Evening for you, an extravaganza with circus acts and model-making.

Ahoy me hearties: Join a treasure hunt as part of the Mary Rose Museum's Torchlight Trail.

Behind the scenes at the museum: At Guernsey Museum, you can Meet the Curators and get the fascinating low-down on objects from the Museum's collection.

Here's your link to all the family-friendly Museum at Night 2010 events. And if you've got teenagers, click on the link for events especially for 14-19 year olds.

Museums at Night logo

Museums at Night events are being added all the time so don't forget to check the Museums at Night homepage to find out what's going on near you.

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