May 10, 2013 7:00 pm

The expert selection: A night at the museum

Museums across the UK will stay open at night to host a range of unusual events, from sleepovers to performance art
Lights out at the Horniman Museum©Pal Hansen

Lights out at the Horniman Museum

From May 16 to 18, museums across the UK will stay open at night to host a range of unusual events, from sleepovers to performance art. Nick Stockman, project director of Museums at Night, picks five highlights from the more than 500 events taking place.

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Dover Castle, Kent Sleepovers are a major part of Museums at Night and venues this year range from Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s former home in the Lake District, to Hampton Court, Henry VIII’s palace on the banks of the Thames. Personally, the one I would like to go to is an adults-only sleepover in the Great Tower of the magnificent Dover Castle, one of England’s most important medieval castles, set above the White Cliffs. You can bed down in Henry II’s chamber, or the servants’ quarters. May 17, from £90 per person

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Horniman Museum & Gardens, London This gem of a museum in Forest Hill, south London, is hosting a garden party with a difference. As well as live music, dance, poetry and cocktails, highlights include the unveiling of an installation by rAndom International, the contemporary art trio whose “Rain Room” installation delighted visitors to the Barbican last year. “Future Self” is centred around an interactive light chamber that mirrors the visitor’s movement, creating an ethereal impression of another self, glowing yet incarcerated. May 16, tickets £3

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Discovery Centre, Newcastle One of the great pleasures of Museums at Night is seeing artists respond to unusual environments to create unique pieces. This year, contemporary artist Julia Vogl will enlist the help of volunteers to create a huge chandelier using 2,500 recycled plastic bottles, which will then be hoisted up to the ceiling of the Great Hall at the Discovery Centre. May 18, free

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Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool There are more than 100 events in museums and galleries in Liverpool’s city centre on Friday evening. The one that stands out for me is Alive: In the Face of Death, the opening night of an exhibition by renowned photographer Rankin. Here’s someone associated with pictures of beautiful models tackling the issue of mortality through shots of people with terminal illness. May 17, free

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Brunel Museum, London This museum on the banks of the Thames at Rotherhithe features a shaft dropping 42ft to an underground chamber, originally built during the construction of the Thames Tunnel. The tunnel, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his father, was completed in 1843 and is now used by trains. The entrance chamber is normally sealed off but will become a unique concert venue for Museums at Night. The museum is also home to a magical rooftop potager garden that will host a pop-up bar, serving cocktails infused with herbs and flowers from the garden. May 16 to 18; prices vary

www.museumsatnight.org.uk

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