Museums Mile Showoff at the Bloomsbury Festival

One mile of London.

Ten museums.

One evening of intriguing insights, amazing projects and behind-the-scenes gossip.


Yes, we’re going to be at the Grant Museum21 University Street, WC1E 6DE on Tuesday 15 October as part of the Bloomsbury Festival. All the acts will come from or be about Museums Mile. Doors open at 7pm, the show starts at 7.30pm.

Entry is free, but we’ll be collecting donations on the door for our charity of the month ZSL’s EDGE of Existence, which highlights and conserves species on the verge of extinction. We suggest £5.

Taking to the stage for this extravaganza of wit and wisdom, objects and exhibitions are:

Steve Cross – your compère for the evening, he critiques museums through the medium of t-shirts.

Catherine Walker –Wellcome Collection has been on a Curiosity Roadshow to Camden Lock Market in a converted Routemaster bus. See how the Visitor Services team took the Collection out to a new audience, including objects, images and even the shop!

Mark Carnall – Teaspoons through the ages,  every hearing aid every produced, thousands of fossil fish. This is some of the stuff that lurks in the storerooms of museums awaiting some bizarre apocalypse whereby niche esoteric knowledge might save us? The Grant Museum’s Mark Carnall looks at why celebrating otherwise underwhelming museum objects such as the Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month blog series is a bit less dishonest than pretending museum collections must save the world to be worth keeping.

Ailsa Forbes – Exit through the Gift Shop: I’m spreading a little merchandise enlightenment as a Retail Consultant and Product Developer for some of London’s illuminating museums, cultural and heritage sights.  From saucy Toulouse-Lautrec to Brains and stark Modernism, there’s a range for them all!

Leonie Hannan – Introducing the 100 Hours Project, which takes 10 researchers and 10 museum objects and puts them together for 100 hours of quality time. In a mere 9 minutes, discover how a dog whistle became the object of an historian’s affections, how a student of design fell for a ten-legged stool, and join the group obsession with UCL’s rare and wonderful collections.

Kath Biggs – ‘Did they have supermarkets in ancient Greece?’ and other tales from the British Museum. I’ll be exposing my own stupidity when faced with some tough questioning from children aged as young as four.

Hayley Kruger – Who was the better collector John Hunter or Henry Wellcome? The father of scientific surgery with a nifty line in experiments, or moustachioed Yank pill-pusher with more money than sense? You get the chance to decide but Hayley will be pulling no punches in round one of this epic collector v collector smackdown – only one will walk away! (Although both are actually dead.) #TeamHunter

Kristin Hussey – Who cares about some old Scottish surgeon with syphilis? Kristin will be fighting the corner of Sir Henry Wellcome (obsessive collector and owner of a world famous moustache) in round two of the epic Collector Throwdown the likes of which has never been seen before. It ends tonight. #TeamHenry

Gregory Akerman – Bloomsbury has held the country’s best museums since Hans Sloane decided to consolidate all his collections into the British Museum, but why did he choose Bloomsbury, and has this choice helped shape the way our museums have grown? Gregory will explore this decision and how it accidentally kicked off a debate about what a museums role should be.

Frances Sands & Cynthia Adobea-Aidoo – How different departments at Sir John Soane’s Museum are communicating the collection to a wider audience.

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