Florence Nightingale and tour guide Agatha from CBBC's Relic: Guardians of the Museum. © Culture24
Chris Smith Former Secretary of State for Culture and representatives from the cultural sector were transported back to the Victorian era in the magical setting of the Florence Nightingale Museum, where they were entertained in Victorian style by a magician, harpist and a silhouette artist.
Museums at Night 2010 has more than twice as many events as last year, and Culture24 chairman John Newbigin said he hoped the event would ‘extend access and bring new focus into the museum and gallery world,’ and that the organisation hopes to ‘build on the success of the event for years to come.’
Lord Chris Smith, former Secretary of State for Culture. © Culture24
Last year 60 per cent of people who attended Museums at Night events had never been to the venues before, and Lord Smith described the weekend as a great example of ‘access and excellence’ at work in the museums and galleries sector.
After joking that he had not opted for a lapel mounted microphone he said: “It is such a brilliant idea for museums for a night to become something different and exciting places, not just for kids, but for everyone.”
“This is making museums come alive for people in a new kind of way. It is all about access and excellence working hand in hand together and it is going to be terrific.”
Culture24's Anra Kennedy and Ylva French talk to Lady Cobham. © Culture24
Lord Smith was a key figure in starting the MLA and Culture24’s predecessor 24 Hour Museum, he said: “They are two bodies that I am proud to have had a hand in putting together and the way that they have joined together in creating this special event is something to be celebrated.”
Fellow guest speaker, the broadcaster and comedian Andrew Collins, was really excited about being involved in Museums at Night and said that ‘anything that gets people through the doors of museums and galleries is positive.’
Andrew told the audience how his own love affair with museums had been started by visiting museums in London and his hometown of Northampton and said that wherever he was in the world he always looked for a museum to go to. He added that museums are always worth going along to ‘whether they are big, small, cheap, expensive, old or modern.’
Broadcaster and comedian Andrew Collins. © Culture24
Culture24 chairman John Newbigin ended the evening by thanking the Florence Nightingale Museum and venues around the UK for taking part in Museums at Night.
The Florence Nightingale Museum will be officially opened on May 12, keep an eye on Culture24’s History and Heritage section for updates.
Culture24 has also joined forces with CBBC show Relic: Guardians of the Museum, based behind the scenes at the British Museum. Children are led by ghostly tour guide Agatha to complete challenges based on objects in the museum’s collection: for Museums at Night 2010, UK venues can run Relic trails at their own museums – click here for more information.
Florence Nightingale and harpist at the Museums at Night launch. © Culture24
Culture24 journalists will be working across the weekend to provide rolling coverage of Museums at Night from towns and cities around the UK. Find out more about Museums at Night and the events taking place near you on the Museums at Night blog, Culture24 Facebook page, Culture24 Twitter and the Museums at Night pages on the Culture24 website.