Museums at Night in Norfolk

This May the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
and Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

are joining forces to bring you an exciting night of activities and entertainment. Part of the Europe-wide Museums at Night celebration, it’s one of a series of special late openings at museums around the county.

On 20 May, from 5pm to 10pm, curators from Norwich Castle will join forces with staff at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts to present a unique Late Shift event at the Sainsbury Centre, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth.

Visitors will have the chance to get up close to some amazing museum objects. A range of specimens from Norwich Castle’s natural history collections, from tiny beetles to a giant tortoise, will be on display; while there will also be the chance to examine objects from the Sainsbury Centre’s handling collection of artefacts from Papua New Guinea. Visitors can find out how Norwich canaries (the birds not the footballers!) can help explain the mysteries of evolution, and discover the secrets of spirit figures and masks and the people who made them. Curators from both museums will be on hand to answer questions and describe life looking after these world-class collections.

“The Late Shift event presents an exciting range of new performance, installation and live music, and at the Museums at Night Special there’s even more for everyone to enjoy. Families can take part in fantastic activities early in the evening; while later on there will be chance to experience wonderful animations, music and performance.” – Liz Ballard, Late Shift Project Manager

Creative activities including making an animal mask or your own DNA bracelet will keep little fingers busy, while the extraordinary Insect Circus will be on hand to amaze and entertain with their stunning displays of costumes, puppets and mechanical models featuring dancing snails and balancing bugs. There will also be the Late Shift’s usual eclectic mix of performance including story-telling with Bryony Graham and Suzie Showers, live music from the Neutrinos, artist animations inspired by Darwin and an electronic installation from William Vine. A packed programme with something for everyone – and it’s completely free!

“The event follows last year’s successful collaboration between the two museums for Museums and Galleries Month, and is part of their ongoing commitment to make their collections more accessible to the public and bring them together in new and surprising ways.” – Esther Morgan, East of England Renaissance Hub

Elsewhere around the county, museums are celebrating the official Night of the Museums on Saturday 16 May in exciting ways. At Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse they’re going batty about bats! Visitors can spend an evening at this beautiful rural site to find out all about these mysterious flying mammals. As dusk settles, they’ll enjoy dinner in the superb Mardler’s Rest Café followed by a talk and guided walk with the Norwich Bat Group which is sure to be fascinating and atmospheric. Places are limited – booking details below.

In Great Yarmouth, museums are offering fun into the night, with free entry from 6pm-10pm and a range of great family activities. Perhaps you fancy learning to tie knots like a seasoned sea dog at Time and Tide? At the Tolhouse you’ll be able to meet the Gaoler, Solomon Allies, and handle gruesome objects from our stores. Meanwhile at Elizabethan House you can find out more about life in Tudor Yarmouth and dress up in some period clothes. And if you’re feeling tired after all that, why not take a break at the Silver Darlings Café at Time and Tide and listen to some live folk music? Plus there’s the chance to win a heritage quarter pass if you visit all five participating heritage sites.

So as the evenings lengthen, it’s the perfect time to do something a bit different and enjoy Museums at Night in Norfolk.