Vote for our charity of the year!

This season we have made some behind-the-scenes changes. We want to pay our producer, compère and technician a small amount, so we’ve decided to donate the rest of the money from our London gigs to a single charity throughout the year, instead of choosing a different charity each show. We’ve picked two of our favourite charities and we’d like you to tell us where the money should go. Please read about them and vote in our poll.

Doorstep Library – How well you read has a direct bearing on how well you do in life, yet the poorest families are less likely to have books or to read. Doorstep Library brings books and reading skills directly to homes in some of London’s most disadvantaged areas.

Shelter from the Storm – An emergency night shelter, completely free to guests, providing bed, dinner and breakfast for 44 homeless people every night of the year. Shelter from the Storm also supports its guests with housing, counselling and legal help.

UPDATE: The poll has now closed, and you voted for Doorstep Library!

poll results


Museums Showoff 20, Sept 29 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

Good news! It’s September! Who cares if the skies are grey and it’s getting colder… WE’RE BACK!

It’s time to kick off a new season of museum fun and OMG, what an incredible show we’ve got for you! Join us on Tuesday 29 September, downstairs at The Slaughtered Lamb, where our brilliant performers will entertain, intrigue and astound you. Doors open 7pm. Tickets are £5 (+ 50p booking fee). Get one here:

Showing off their museum-y amazingness will be:

Steve Cross – compère, troublemaker and checked-shirt collector.

Maurice Davies – Poacher turned (stupid) curator. I spent quarter of a century at the Museums Association, provoking the museum sector, especially curators, documentation people and collection managers. In October, to my mild amazement, I’m taking up post as head of collections at a major London institution. Who should be more afraid – me or my new colleagues?

Anna Darron – Unexpected items in the bagging area! Not all exhibitions use historical collections. Anna will be taking a look back through the to-do and shopping lists from her time working on the Science Museum’s ‘Cravings’ exhibition. Find out what ingredients went into the mix, and how they’ve destroyed her Amazon search profile, possibly forever.

Russell Dornan – Ten museums in London joined forces on Instagram. What happened next will blow your mind! Possibly… Russell Dornan talks about the recent #MuseumInstaSwap project.

Joe Watson – The National Trust. Cream teas, the coast, and country houses, right? Wrong. Joe Watson escorts us on a tour of a very different kind.

Jenny Wedgbury – All the Sladey Ladies! Put your hands up for Dora Carrington, Winifred Knights and Gwen John, all ground-breaking female artists who studied at the Slade at the turn of the century. I’ll be talking about the impact they had on the art scene at the time and about the tangled web of love, paint and patriarchy in which they lived, and showing work by these artists from the UCL Art Museum collection.

Chloe Bent – I’ll talk about the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art & Objects: what we are and what we do.

Janet Tyson – The Muskegon Museum of Art is my local museum, which is in the small, post-industrial city of Muskegon, Michigan. It houses a remarkable collection of African-American art, which I’m going to tell you about. In song!

Hellen Pethers – A serendipitous Museum Librarian who wants to show you an eclectic mix of the unexpected from the paper collections of two national museums.

Nick Sturgess – We all go to theme parks and everyone has memories of them. In this set I’ll look at the issues of preserving an ever changing bit of Britain’s leisure time for the future.

Vicky Prodrick – From an international photographic competition capturing the deepest depths of the galaxies comes a product range that’s literally out of this world! Using the latest digital printing processes Royal Museums Greenwich has developed a unique photographic collection that’s one giant leap for Museum merchandise.


Museums Showoff 19, July 7 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

It’s nearly summer holiday time!

Who’s going to spend it coping with two months of holiday events, blockbuster queues and lost visitors?

Treat yourself before the chaos begins. Kick back with some top class entertainment from the creme de la creme of museum talent.

Join us on Tuesday 7 July, downstairs at The Slaughtered Lamb, where our brilliant performers will intrigue and astound you. Doors open 7pm, with the gig starting at 7.30pm. Entry is £5, get your tickets here: All the money (apart from the booking fee) will be going to the Stroke Association.

Strutting their museum-y stuff for your delectation will be:

Steve Cross – compere, troublemaker and one time curator, Steve will poke fun at museums and try to keep things to time.

Catherine Jones – Most museums want to tell the truth. We spent a weekend creating a museum where nothing was quite as it seemed.

Amy Cotterill – David vs Goliath: The Power of Small Museums! National and ACE Major Partner Museums have large teams of staff, deep pockets and influential contacts. Small museums don’t, but in the cultural arena they definitely punch above their weight!

Mark Carnall – The curator of the Grant Museum, who pines for the days of taxonomy before cladistics and genetics made things messy, will be self consciously spitting some rhymes about animal taxonomy. Should have made this rhyme I guess. That would have been clever. #PhylaRap

Zoe Hughes – What the *%!& is a brachiopod? In a journey through 500 million years of the brachiopod collections at the Natural History Museum, you’ll encounter a brief exploration of just what a brachiopod is, why they are important and why you’ve (probably) never heard of them.

Andrew Hunter Murray – Andrew spends most of his time finding weird facts for No Such Thing as A Fish and pretending to be characters from Jane Austen novels. He may or may not combine the two for the benefit of museums.

Rosie Lampard – I am an intern with the National Trust and I will be condensing my property’s collection of well over 1,000 objects and 300 years of history into three of my favourite pieces. It’ll be the fastest history lesson ever!

Glenn Cumiskey – I’ll be playing historic songs from the Smithsonian’s Folkways collection, with my band Mariah Wade.

Maria Lloyd – Understanding Museums is a new website aimed at helping prospective and current museum professionals to make museums more accessible to visitors (including Deaf and visually impaired individuals), and also provides advice for museum visitors on how to view museum collections.

Helen O’Donnell –  Helen will discuss ‘The Wunderkammer’, the show by award-winning comedy improv group ‘Do Not Adjust Your Stage’ which brings together inspiring people and improvised comedy at the Natural History Museum Lates.


Museums Showoff 18, May 12 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

Hello London!

Are you ready for more top class museum-related entertainment? We’ve lined up the creme de la creme of museum talent to reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects.

Join us at The Slaughtered Lamb on 12 May 2015, where our brilliant performers will astonish and amaze you. Doors open 7pm, with the gig starting at 7.30pm. Entry is £5, TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE DOOR. ALL the money will be going to the DEC Nepal Earthquake Appeal.

Strutting their museum-y stuff on stage, will be:

Steve Cross – your compere for the evening, and a man with an extensive collection of checked shirts.

Tim Powell – Why palaces are better than museums…“Some people go to Berlin to get more cutting edge; I went and started wearing lederhosen and going to visit baroque palaces” Rufus Wainwright. Historic Royal Palaces’ Tim Powell aims to provoke some friendly inter-sector rivalry, though hopefully in a less obnoxious than the talk’s title implies.

Jenny Lockyear – Last summer, singer/ songwriter Jenny Lockyer was commissioned by Egham Museum near Runnymede to write four songs about Magna Carta to celebrate its 800th anniversary this year. Jenny will be performing one or two of these songs with bass player Matt Foster.

Vernon Rapley – Vernon will try to dispel the perception Hollywood has created of art crime. He will explain the true risks faced by museums and give an insight into methods used to protect our collections for future generations.

Jacqueline Winston-Silk – Nine objects in nine minutes! I’ll take you on a whirlwind tour of objects in the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture’s collections and uncovering their degrees of separation.

Adam Koszary – Wagons. Join me on a whirlwind tour of monkey drivers, dog-carts, the Oregon Trail and the heart of English craftsmanship and pride, to prove to all the doubters that yes, boxes on wheels can be interesting!

Judy Willcocks – Your region needs you! Judy Willcocks has realised that she is old and tired and part of the problem and is recruiting bright young things to represent (as volunteers) the museum sector in London. Can you bring a hint of youthful brio to the party?

Sam Hardy – In the cause of ideology, propaganda and profit (as well as due to Western sensibilities), cultural destruction is becoming a growing feature of political violence in societies that face Islamist insurgencies. Sam will try to sift fact from fiction and speculation – and show how.

Joe Sullivan – ‘Snaphots of History’ is a new workshop at Brooklands museum where schools make films using iPads. I’m going talk a little about the project, and show you what students have come up with!

Museums Showoff Wakefield – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

Hello Yorkshire! Are you ready for some top class museum-related entertainment?

We’ve lined up the creme de la creme of museum talent to reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects, and thanks to those lovely folk at the Hepworth Wakefield and The Art House we’re coming to a venue near you!

Museums Showoff, the open mic night for all those who work in and love museums, will take place at the Hepworth Wakefield on Thursday 16 April. Doors open at 7.00pm and the show starts at 7.30pm. Entry is £4, tickets will be available on the door. All the money (apart from the booking fee) will be going to a local charity. Please note this show is suitable for over 18s only.

Strutting their museum-y stuff on stage will be:

Steve Cross – your compère for the evening. He collects geeky glasses and geekier jokes.

Angela Clare – What is it like to touch Henry VIII’s armoured codpiece? How do you turn ‘a bunch of old stuff’ into something relevant, interesting and possibly life-affirming? Calderdale Museums’ collections manager will share her passion for history and objects and what it’s like to be responsible for looking after precious and unique, and sometimes boring, objects.

Merrick Burrow – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the great detective Sherlock Holmes, wrote a book in 1922 in which he made the case in favour of believing in fairies. I will talk about my work with museums in West Yorkshire to explore and illuminate this strange episode as we approach the centenary of the Cottingley Fairies photographs in 2017.

Emma King & Tracy Craggs – How to Survive in Europe. Join museum geeks and international women of mystery Emma and Tracy on a no-frills tour of the joys and pitfalls of European museum partnerships. Find out why vodka is essential for project management, when English isn’t really English and why you should always carry a clean pair of pants.

Emma Manners – Mortally wounded knights, plague ridden monks and Henry VIII have been walking the ruins at Fountains Abbey.  We will show you how scripted drama can bring places to life, untangle complicated historical narratives and help children to learn.  I will be talking to myself and wearing a variety of different hats.

Anisha Christison & Sally-Ann Burley – How the unlikely lasses at the National Coal Mining Museum created Wacky Wednesdays for under 5s. Fun, storytelling, singing, crafts all themed to match the Museum’s activity.

Imran Ali – Introducing Yarn. I’ll be talking about open access community storytelling, collaborative design and institutional archives, drawn from the AHRC-funded Pararchive research programme.

Eleanor Clayton – Breezeblocks and pot plants: how and why we reconstructed Barbara Hepworth’s 1968 exhibition designs!

Stephen Foster – I’ll be musing on museums, and giving my view on what they’re for.

Stuart Tulloch – Artisans, Mechanics, Manufactures, Inventors, Artists, Scholars, and all Workpeople, and other persons of both sexes, willing to become Exhibitors are invited at once to prepare articles for Exhibition.


Museums Showoff 17, March 24 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED


It’s time for lots of museum fun with even more behind-the-scenes tales, intriguing insights and amazing projects. And OMG, what an incredible show we’ve got for you!

Join us on Tuesday 24 March, downstairs at The Slaughtered Lamb, where our brilliant performers will entertain, intrigue and astound you. Doors open 7pm, with the gig starting at 7.30pm. Entry is £5, get your tickets here: All the money (apart from the booking fee) will be going to Paris Youth Group, the only support in Newham for LGBTQ young people and which is currently in danger of closure.

Showing off their all round museum-y amazingness will be:

Steve Cross – your compère for the evening, keeping things to time and mucking about.

Eli Bligh-Briggs & Hannah Steele – Mind the diversity gap. London Transport Museum’s award winning apprentices talk cake, buses and self-worth. Explore their 12 month journey innovating stuff, trying to understand museums and empowering others to make their own tea.

Sharon Robinson – Toxic Tales. Museum stuff that might kill you…the things they don’t teach you at conservation school. This set will be a quick spin through the world of dangerous collections management featuring arsenic birds, guns, bombs and radioactive pants!

Simon Watt – Simon will be talking about why the Natural History Museum’s dodo deserves to be an icon, in spite of being a distinctly lack lustre bird.

Helena Copsey – Paintings in Hospitals is a charity dedicated to using visual art to create environments that improve the health and wellbeing of people across the UK. Helena will talk about its fascinating art collection and the benefits of creative engagement.

Harry Deansway – Ever wondered where the phrase free time comes from? How much time is there? Where has the time gone? I started writing this description six hours ago. Harry Deansway will be showing you the time of your life, quite literally, as he talks you through the history of clocks and watches.

Stella Wisdom – I’ll be talking about Off the Map, an annual videogame design competition for UK Higher Education students, which challenges them to create videogames and text adventures using digitised British Library maps, texts, illustrations and sounds, as creative inspiration.

Simon Cane – I say conservator, you say conservationist!  Conservators are often misunderstood, misinterpreted and even misrepresented in the media but yet they all that they do is for the benefit of visitors and collections isn’t it?  Simon will consider the how conservators and their actions are presented and communicated through the media, if they should care and what, if anything, they should do about it.

Hannah Bishop & Marie Klimis – Making art happen in a museum & garden: how the Horniman Museum is getting help to reveal its hidden worlds.

Museums Showoff 16, Feb 3 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

Hello London!

Do you like museums?

Do you like fun?

If the answer to either of those is yes, then you’re our kind of person!

Museums Showoff is back at the Slaughtered Lamb on 3 February 2015 with more amazing museum people who’ll regale you with behind-the-scenes stories and divulge the details of incredible projects. Doors open 7pm, with the gig starting at 7.30pm. Entry is £5, get your tickets here: ALL the money will be going to Headway, which gives help and advice to individuals & their families after brain injury.

Strutting their museum-y stuff on stage, will be:

Steve Cross – your compère for the evening. He collects geeky glasses and geekier jokes.

Sarah Cox – Barts Pathology Museum has a lot of brilliant and terrifying things in it, including the skull of the only man to ever assassinate a British Prime Minister, and a torch found up someone’s bum. Event volunteer & ex-PR Sarah explains why she’s obsessed.

Jack Ashby – Bone Idols! This year the Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL is undertaking a huge conservation project to preserve 39 of their biggest, rarest and most significant specimens. It involves deconstructing a massive rhino, saving the world’s rarest skeleton, dangling a seal from the ceiling and accidentally promoting unhelpful museum stereotypes to the world’s media.

Kenny Webster – Why we should stop trying to give visitors what they want! Our visitors tell us what they want every day, through all manner of media. How much should we listen to these requests and recommendations though and is there a smarter way of approaching visitor feedback?

Sara Wajid – Ever wondered what Black museum workers talk about when whites aren’t listening? Well I’m not telling. But I will tell you what the museum scene looks like from my rare perspective as a ‘non-white’ senior manager at a national and how Museum Detox (the social for ‘BAME museum professionals who occasionally tire of being one of the few’) made it funner.

Nick Harris – MuseumCraft: how to deal with success (and confusion) before you’ve actually done anything. One post on Reddit. One three-day holiday. Only 20 builders needed…. So why are there 1000+ people messaging the British Museum about Minecraft, why aren’t you answering your emails, and who is Anus-27? This is the true story of a little idea that got a bit out of hand.

Jack Denham – I’m going to talk about some of the research I’ve done at crime museums in the US and UK as part of my PhD about people who are fascinated by murder, and dying, and dead bodies. I will be ‘showing off’ some ‘muder-abilia’ (not for the faint hearted), and briefly positing some ideas about the ways in which crime is represented in educational spaces.

Alastair Brown – I’ll be talking about museum ethics, politics and the worst advert you’ve never seen. I’ll also tell you a bit about the work of the Museums Association and how to get involved.

Giles Abbott – Storyteller and voice coach Giles Abbott shows how a good story can transform a museum, whether it’s about a local or national museum, an individual exhibit or an entire wing!

Bhavani Esapathi – Our digitally saturated world offers entirely new narratives for museums & galleries. I’m going to explore one of the exciting ways of using them.

Get your tickets to see them:

Museums Showoff 15, Dec 2 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED


It’s November, the clocks have gone back, it’s raining and there is the impending doom of terrible secret santa presents at the office party.

But never fear! If you love museums and archives we have something to cheer you up!

Join us downstairs at The Slaughtered Lamb on Tuesday 2 December for lots of museum-y fun, intriguing insights and all the behind-the-scenes gossip! Doors open at 7pm. This time we are selling TICKETS. They are £5 + 50p booking fee and ALL the money (apart from the booking fee) will be going to Solace Women’s Aid, which helps women & children affected by domestic & sexual abuse.

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

Steve Cross – your compère for the evening, keeping things to time and mucking about.

Melanie Vandenbrouck – “What on earth do (art) curators do?”, I often get asked, by puzzled members of the public and bemused colleagues alike. I’ll be talking about my curatorial experience in institutions small and big, to share some rabbit-in-the-headlight moments, the trepidation of stepping out of my comfort zone, and the variety of things I get to do, some more marvellously odd than others.

Ian Tester – A gentle canter through how we put millions of pages of #oldnews online, but more importantly, the many, varied and surprising ways people are using them. We like to think of ourselves as the Newspaper Liberation Front: we rescue old newspapers from libraries and put them an iPad away from anybody.

Marianne Mulvey –  Is there a place for irreverence in a space of reverence? I believe so, but do Tate Britain’s members agree? My talk tells the story of using queer performance to open up new ways of being and behaving in the museum, and gives you some honest reactions.

Martin Croser – I’ll be talking about the Hunterian Museum and it’s fascinating collection of cadavers, entrails, viscera, carrion, severed limbs, scalpels, hacksaws, catheters, claw hammers and pickled sparrows testicles. I’ll also be looking at why (in retrospect) it probably wasn’t the best place to go on a first date.

Laura Crossley – Workforce Diversity: A Plea to End the Handwringing and Start Doing. How long do we have to wait for the museum sector to address its lack of workforce diversity? One hundred more angry conference talks? One million more Twitter outbursts? I, for one, cannot take any more (and neither can Twitter). If you can’t either, pledge to join me in my mission to force the sector to stop the handwringing and start DOING.

Tom Flynn – A look at the circumstances that lead to the British Museum on Sketchfab and some of the outcomes of the project. In light of this experience and as more and more museum content goes digital, how best might this be presented to a modern audience?

Dan Schreiber – Museum-y musings from the one of the brains behind Radio 4’s Museum of Curiosity.

Katherine Hudson – the Art Fund has helped museums to show off their amazing collections and everything they do since 1903. I’ll tell you how to get involved.