It has been 13 weeks since Culture24 were given a total of £23k from MLA and NMDC to coordinate the national Museums at Night Campaign. This is the first time we have done a national campaign of this kind and it is really exciting to be able to lead and coordinate it and try out our ideas about how these kind of things can work.
Trying to promote multiple events across the whole UK is not an easy thing to pull off on such a small budget. We have tried to create a simple but memorable branding and make sure venues understand the value of the campaign and the benifits of trying something different.
Our approach has been, as with everything, to simply make best use of what we already have. This means obviously using our own websites as promotional vehicles but also our network of contacts in the sector and press to build momentum and participation. This work has been a big focus of our effort and with just under a month to go and I am really staggered by the enthusiasm of museums and galleries to take part.
There are over 120 events already planned and more coming in each day. Crucially, lots of them have risen to the challenge implicit in the night that it is all about trying to reach out to new audiences in new ways and are planning some really great one-off events – Tours by candlelight, battleship boogies, after-dark fire-spinning and lots, lots more.
Our online coverage started a few weeks ago and we hope to ensure that there is at least one story written about every single event as well as regional roundups and event highlighting. The stories all go onto our own sites but are also shared out with related and relevant partner sites to make sure the right audiences see them. For example, matching top food events with popular food site and networks – making every bit of editorial work as hard as it can for us.
We have also started up a Flickr group and are inviting people who attend an event to submit their best photographs to the Flickr archive. From this archive, the best pictures will be chosen by some top sector curators and publishers and featured in an online exhibition. Difficult to know what the take up will be but it is not really about quantity of engagement, it is about quality. We will be starting to promote it on the Flickr forums soon and distributing leaflets to all the participating venues … and we will see.
All the PR and press liaison is being done by our regular freelance whizz Ruth Cobb from Mosaic marketing, who as well as liaising with local and national press, is staging a fab launch event on HMS Belfast with a distinct 1940’s theme. Just off to buy my hat ….
Museums at Night 2009, organised by Culture24, takes place on May 15, 16 and 17 and is part of the European-wide Nuits des Musees celebrations.
Find out more here.