Museums at Night 2010: Are you sitting comfortably?

By Rachel Hayward | 29 April 2010
Photo showing the outside of Knebworth House a stately building

Who would live in a house like this? Come to Knebworth House and find out their stories. Courtesy Knebworth House

Kids love staying up after bedtime and they adore hearing stories, so let museums give them what they want. During Museums at Night 2010, there are magical and spooky storytelling events and much more to enthrall the whole family. The events listed below are family friendly and most are free. Please click on the links for more details.

Photo showing a book cover with a mysterious black cloaked figure on a moorland landscape at night

(Right) A spooky story awaits you at Old Fulling Mill Museum of Archaeology.

North East
Come along to Old Fulling Mill Museum of Archaeology, Durham, for scary craft activities, followed by juice and biscuits and then torchlit spooky ghost stories in the Fulling Mill. Local children's author, storyteller Maisie Raine, will be reading from her book, The Summer of the Witch.

North West
What happens in the Library when everyone has gone home? At John Rylands Library, Manchester you can go on a tour to discover the secret parts of the Library by torch light, followed by story-telling in the darkened Historic Reading Room.

East Midlands
Come and meet Mr Strutt of Strutt's North Mill, Belper and explore the history of Belper. Meet the mill workers, framework knitters, farm hands and nailmakers who will give a personal account of life around the Mills 200 years ago. In addition there will be storytelling, a treasure hunt, shadow theatre, refreshments and other attractions.

There are spooky tales with Peter Clarke at Erewash Museum, Ilkeston plus a chance to view the building and its exhibitions in the evening. Ilkeston & District Astronomical society will also be at the museum offering an opportunity to view the night sky using their equipment in the museum gardens.

East of England
The Museum of Harlow has stories and pottery for you. Watch the pottery kiln in the gardens as it fires clay pots (made by visitors to the museum the week before - there's a hint!), listen to stories and go on a night time garden trail.

If you're up for a spooky evening, Knebworth House, for 500 years the home of the Lytton family, will be relating tales of the unexplained inspired by former resident Edward Bulwer Lytton. The Victorian playwright, author and politician was fascinated by the occult. On Friday May 14, you can tour the House at night, hear the stories recounting the incidents the staff at Knebworth cannot explain. After a break for pre-booked refreshments, you can also enjoy a Bat Walk with visiting experts around the Gardens.

Discover a magic lantern and magic lantern stories at Letchworth Museum & Art Gallery, Hertfordshire. Doors will remain open past the usual closing time to give everyone the chance to see the museum and collections in a different light.

There's a storytelling sleepover at the Guildhall, Norwich for 9-14 year olds.They'll be able to experience this medieval building after the lights go out, take part in Victorian and modern-day mock trials in the old court room, listen to a spooky story courtesy of storyteller Marion Leeper and scoff a midnight feast before bedtime. A delicious breakfast is promised for the morning.

Photo showing a dragon carving with red tongue in the beams of a building

(Right) Dragon Hall, Norwich

Join 'the man in black' at Dragon Hall, Norwich for an eerie and atmospheric evening of local ghost stories and a candlelit tour of Dragon Hall packed with legends and ghost stories associated with this ancient medieval building.

South East
join the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (the SCVA) in Norwich for a nocturnal adventure of live music, storytelling, tours and creative fun for adults and children, in that all-important late night atmosphere.

There will also be a chance to discover objects on the Relics Trail through the museum, which is packed with challenges. The trail links to the CBBC series Relic: Guardians at the Museum, an episode of which will be screened during the evening.

New Forest Centre, Hampshire has torchlight, trees, storytelling and silhouettes.

South West
Join staff for a storytelling campfire as they pitch tents amongst the exhibits and set up a campsite in Burton Art Gallery & Museum.

Finally, wrap up warm for some ghostly storytelling courtesy of Shaftesbury Abbey Museum & Garden.

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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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