Past Shows

Season 7: September 2017-July 2018

  • Museums Showoff, July 17 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    HOORAY! It’s time for MORE MUSEUM-Y FUN!

    We’ve lined up top museum talent to entertain, astound and intrigue you! Join us on Tuesday 17 July, downstairs at The Phoenix, where our brilliant performers will reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects. Doors open 6.45pm, show starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee). Get one here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/443914

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

    Naomi Paxton – she acts, she does magic, she’s an expert on suffrage plays AND she’s your compere for the night! Find out more about our multi-talented MC here: http://www.naomipaxton.co.uk/

    Adam Koszary – ‘look at this absolute unit’. This simple phrase and a photograph of a sheep reached millions of people around the world after going viral on Twitter. Hear about the surreal couple of weeks spent dealing with unexpected internet fame from the person at the Museum of English Rural Life behind the tweet.

    Lalita Kaplish – What’s a museum website for? Most of us would say it’s there to promote the museum and to give visitors information about what they can expect when they visit. But the majority of website visitors may never visit the museum, so are we neglecting online audiences by focussing on the physical space? It’s time to rethink the museum on the web.

    Noeleen O’Gorman – How to move a Museum! In 2018, the Musical Museum celebrated 10 years in their current building. Looking back over 10 years of history we uncovered the story of how the entire collection was transported from a leaky old church to where it is now. We’ll tell all at Museums Showoff.

    Queerseum – We’ll be sharing our practice of Cultural Activism – from demanding a Queer Museum to popping up and reactivating queer history in institutions and on the streets. Featuring cultural activists Damien Arness Dalton,Dan de la Motte (Queer Tours of London), and Andrew Lumsden and Stuart Feather (Gay Liberation Front).

    Merri Gordon & Anna Jackson – Work in museums and heritage? Ever tried speed mentoring? Or have no idea what that is but want to find out? We’ll have a preview of an upcoming speed mentoring event run by the London Emerging Museum Professionals group, in the works for September 2018. Find out what to expect and how to get the most out of speed mentoring; be the first to sign up as a mentee or mentor; or just come to enjoy #loveisland puns galore.

    Sacha Coward – Sacha engages with local diasporic communities in a multimodal fashion through intergenerational interactions around problematic themes within our collections…’ WTF does that even mean?! Sacha works at the National Maritime Museum and has a job title even he can barely say; Museums love big, grand, evasive words when they try to talk about things that scare them! In his set Sacha wants to explore what Museums really mean when they try to talk about race, gender, sexuality and politics.

    Alice Procter – Alice has been running Uncomfortable Art Tours for a year, and is now officially hated by the Daily Mail! She’s here to recap a rollercoaster of museum heckling, (not) inventing institutional critique, problematic faves, displaying it like you stole it, and why she’s unwelcome in Whitby.

    Hannah Cushion – The Art of Failing – Museum Educator Hannah Cushion has worked in museums, galleries and education for the last 10 years and is fed up of hearing ‘Is this right?’ and ‘I was never any good at art!’. What is failing and why is it so important? We’ve all failed at something and survived so why are we so scared of it and when did ‘Fail’ become such a dirty word?

    Ellie Armstrong – Ever thought that science museums were a bit…..straight? Ellie and Damien Arness Dalton did, and started “Queering the Science Museum” as a guerrilla tour at the Science Museum London. Running every Saturday and Sunday in July at 4pm; the tour uses histories and stories to think more queerly about how we display STEM in the museum.

  • Museums Showoff, May 22 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    HOORAY!

    It’s time for lots more museum-y fun, and omg, have we got an AWESOME line up!

    Join us on Tuesday 22 May, downstairs at The Phoenix, where our brilliant performers will reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects. Doors open 6.45pm, show starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee), get one here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/439003

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

    Naomi Paxton – your compère for the night, Naomi is an awesome performer and an academic. She acts, juggles, does magic and is an expert on suffrage plays! Find out more here: http://www.naomipaxton.co.uk/

    Team Fatberg! – It’s the Shit Show! Get insider knowledge on the most talked about exhibition the Museum of London has ever created: Fatberg! Our expert panel will tell its story through crap we said in the media, and consider this conundrum: if Fatberg! was a musical, what would be its theme tune?

    Anna  Spender – Did you know that croquet, not tennis, was the first sport to grace Wimbledon’s lawns?  Anna Spender, Collections Manager at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, will be talking about their latest exhibition, ‘Through the Hoops: Croquet at Wimbledon’, celebrating The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club’s 150th anniversary this year.

    Sara Boutall – Tutankhamun vs. Netflix – the changing landscape of museum visitation and what factors cultural institutions must take into consideration in order to increase visitor numbers and engagement

    Leslie Ewing-Burgesse – Leslie does silly, surreal standup comedy. Tonight she’ll be telling you about one of the best museums in her hometown of Ottawa, Canada, and about the books she obsessively borrowed from the library as a child.

    Professor Carl Bugenhagen, Director of Tyne & Wear Occult Practice & Psychical Research Facility – Beyond The Museum:Unlocking The Paranormal & Hidden Power of Objects. Professor Carl Budenhagen will be discussing the use of Psychics and Trance Mediums as a valid form of data collection and presenting findings from a recent public event at the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead, Tyne & Wear where a psychic was used to find the lost histories of objects with unknown provenance.

    Nick Sturgess – Nick will explore the weird, wonderful and frankly annoying aspects of curating a fairground collection and telling people why it doesn’t fit in any other museum category. This will entail pretty much everything you can think of as issues with collections management.

    Tim Powell – Touchy-feely technology! Buzzwords like ‘immersive technologies’ generally make people think of screen-based visual experiences. Tim Powell will share some of the curious lessons learnt by Historic Royal Palaces in The Lost Palace and virtual reality experiments – into the emotional power of digital touch and sound (and smell?)

    Sarah Dormer – Spare Tyre is taking a creative approach to heritage in order to reflect our diverse and rich history! As a 40-year old organisation we have a lot to cover, but how do we present information in a fun and accessible way…?

  • Museums Showoff, March 20 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    HOORAY!

    It’s time for more museum-y fun, and omg, what an incredible show we’ve got for you! Join us on Tuesday 20 March, downstairs at The Phoenix, where our brilliant performers will reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects. Doors open 6.45pm, show starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee). Get one here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/432925

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

    Naomi Paxton – she acts, she does magic, she’s an expert on suffrage plays AND she’s your compere for the night! Find out more about our multi-talented MC here: http://www.naomipaxton.co.uk/

    Frances Sampayo – Do you find yourself waking up at 3am in a cold sweat wondering how visitors will interact with your new exhibition? Do you find yourself distracted by signage strategies whilst out and about? If you answered yes to these questions, then you might be living with Operations Brain. Frances reveals the signs and symptoms of this Ops-centric condition!

    Bernard Donoghue – Bernard is the CEO of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, is the Mayor of London’s Culture Ambassador and a trustee of the Geffrye Museum. He’s also a lobbyist for the sector and will share gossip, lobbying tactics, insider info in a 9 minute ‘The Thick of It’ meets ‘The Crown”.

    Anna Faherty – Between the lines: a ripping yarn of automation and gender power struggles unexpectedly embedded in a sleepy nineteenth-century volume from the shelves of the Wellcome Library.

    Mike Harris – I’ll be talking about the perils of having an interesting job description on your twitter bio and how it can end up with a slot at Museums Showoff. I’ll also talk tech – specifically tech at the Royal Academy of Arts and the wide range of projects the developers here are working on. Expect everything from ‘the cloud’ through to digital signs.

    Matt & Jess Turtle – Jess and Matt Turtle will share the story of how they set up the UK’s first Museum of Homelessness, documenting the twists, turns and the highs and lows.

    Jason Webber – The (inevitable) Zombie Apocalypse is upon us! It could be the end of times? But wait, surely culture can save us? In which London Cultural Institution would it be best to survive the onslaught of the un-dead? Choose wisely or prepare for annihilation!

    Miki Webb & Claire Madge – Museum Marathon is taking place on Sunday 15th April and raising money for Autism in Museums. Come listen to Claire Madge and Mikaela Webb (with Mar Dixon cheering on from afar) give an energetic run through of what to expect, how to take part and donate. So put on your trainers, don your sweatbands, put down your pint and limber up for Museum Marathon – 1 day, 20 km and over 30 London museums…

    Joe Sullivan – The London Museums Group support and advocate for all Museum staff in London, and we are currently recruiting for new board members. I’ll be chatting through what London Museums Group does, the great opportunities its given me, and why you should join us!

    Tim Powell – Combining VR with real-time motion capture to create visitor experiences at HRP! Full set details coming soon.

  • Museums Showoff, Jan 23 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    HOORAY!

    We’re back for 2018!

    We’re kicking off the new year with another incredible line up of top museum talent. Join us on Tuesday 23 January, downstairs at The Phoenix , where our brilliant performers will entertain, intrigue and amaze you. Doors open 6.45pm, show starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee), get one here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/427196

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

    Naomi Paxton – she acts, she does magic, she’s an expert on suffrage plays AND she’s your compere for the night! Find out more about our multi-talented MC here: http://www.naomipaxton.co.uk/

    Sacha Coward & Katherine McAlpine – Job rejections suck, and they are always worded so bloody badly! As part of their very own brand of ‘group therapy’ join Katherine and Sacha as they share their past rejections in the only way they know how. (Slightly drunk slightly x-rated ranting and raving dressed up as spoken word poetry…)

    Sheldon Goodman – The City of London had Samuel Pepys as its diarist, but did you know Westminster had one too? Deep in the Westminster City Archives is the hidden history of twenty-year old Nathaniel Bryceson and tales from his extraordinary diary. The only surviving volume from what would have been an extensive record of his life, hear about his middle aged lover, twenty mile walks, love of death and the macabre – Pepys best cover his ears!

    Laurence van der Noordaa & Dickon Moore – Tate’s Visitor Experience Team has been trying out some new techniques to encourage visitors to engage with art. We’ll tell you what we’ve observed and what we’ve learned in the process.

    Ali Child – Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney’s onstage/offstage partnership was buried deep in the archive at the V&A’s Blythe House. Uncovering each new detail of the lives and careers of these forgotten variety stars triggers fresh frissons of excitement in Ali Child. Dare she share?

    Christina Ross – January 23rd will be Christina’s three month anniversary of working in a museum, and she’ll walk you through what she’s learned so far.

    Nancy Groves has gone to the Darkside, parkside. Hear her lessons learned from a year as Serpentine Galleries’ head of press after eight years at Guardian Towers. Expect japes, canapes and a serious allergy to artspeak. Plus a definitive answer to the question Who really drinks more: journalists or PRs?

    Julie Flower – What happens when you reignite your interest in architectural history and can’t stop saying ‘yes’? Welcome to the ‘Vortex of Volunteering’…from which there may be no return! Learn how dabbling in the life and work of Arts & Crafts architect and designer CFA Voysey turned into a three-year cataloguing project at the RIBA Drawings & Manuscripts Collection at the V&A.

    Julia Mariani – Museums are meant to provoke feelings and reactions…and then what? What are you supposed to do with those? And where can you find out about other visitors’ takes? I’ll talk about how I think the digital space is the answer to these loud conversations that can happen in the quiet space of the museum.

  • Museums Showoff, Nov 21 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    HOORAY! It’s time for MORE MUSEUM-Y FUN!

    We’ve lined up top museum talent to entertain, astound and intrigue you. Join us on Tuesday 21 November, downstairs at The Phoenix. Doors open at 6.45pm, the show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee).

  • Museums Showoff, Sept 19 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    HOORAY!

    It’s time for more museum-y fun, and omg, what an incredible show we’ve got for you! Join us on Tuesday 19 September, downstairs at The Phoenix, where our brilliant performers will reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects. Doors open 6.45pm, show starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee). Get one here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/415002

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

    Naomi Paxton – she acts, she does magic, she’s an expert on suffrage plays AND she’s your compere for the night! Find out more about our multi-talented MC here: http://www.naomipaxton.co.uk/

    Cynthia Adobea-Aidoo – How do you go about starting a learning programme for schools, families and adults in a building that hasn’t been open for almost 700 years? Don’t ask me! I’m still figuring it out. Come along to hear about collaborations and commiserations as I discuss the “Revealing the Charterhouse” project. Spoiler alert, I’m still working on the “Revealing” bit.

    Mari Takayanagi – Did you know that in the early 19th century women could only watch debates in the House of Commons from a ventilator in the attic space above? And after that they were confined to a cage? In 2018 Parliament will be celebrating ‘Vote 100’, the centenary of votes for some women – find out what else its archives reveal about the suffragists, the suffragettes, and hear about the exciting plans for 2018.

    Clair Le Couteur – Some artworks don’t just occupy museum spaces, but claim to *be* museums themselves. How can these fictive museums unsettle the relationship between things and labels in the museum, and why might that matter?

    Hannah Tyler – The great @Horse_ebooks once tweeted “everything happens so much” and in terms of quantum physics they are pretty spot on because everything that is, was, and will ever be, is happening at this very moment. If history exists right now, what does that mean for museum spaces and our perception of time? 

    Tom Flynn – Doing the things you like can sometimes lead to a job you love, but it’s not always a direct route or a smooth ride. I’d like to share some things I’ve learned on my journey from dropping out of university to becoming cultural heritage lead at an international tech startup.

    Gemma Murray – The Lion Man of Hohlenstein-Stadel, shown in Ice Age Art at the British Museum in 2013, is believed to be the oldest art object in existence. It features in arguments surrounding the history of Homo sapiens and predictions on AI and the posthuman. I’ll be talking about its ability to make us question where we come from and where we are going.

    Alice Procter – Alice is an alliterative Australian art historian. After graduating and not knowing what to do with herself, she created The Exhibitionist, a podcast about galleries, and Uncomfortable Art Tours, a sightly secret programme exploring colonial legacies in British institutions. She’ll be talking about creating alternative narratives in museums, making people uncomfortable on purpose, and why kitsch is the key to a post-colonial world.

    Arna Spek – For the last 7 years Arna has been working as part of the front of house staff before finally making the  move to another department. Join her as she closes this chapter for now by remembering 10 minutes of highlights of crazy, insane and hilarious visitor stories of years of welcoming Londoners into the Museum of London. What do you think is the weirdest question she had to deal with?

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Season 6: September 2016-July 2017

  • Museums Showoff, July 18 – LINE-UP ANNOUNCED!

    Omg, it’s our 30th London gig!

    We’re celebrating in style with an incredible show packed with museum-y fun. Join us on Tuesday 18 July, downstairs at The Phoenix, where our brilliant performers will entertain, intrigue and astound you. Doors open 6.45pm, show starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee). Get one here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/407986

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

    Naomi Paxton – she acts, she does magic, she’s an expert on suffrage plays AND she’s your compere for the night! Find out more about our multi-talented MC here: http://www.naomipaxton.co.uk/

    Alistair Brown – Will there be any museum funding in five years time (and what is the Treasury’s PIN number?) Who are the 4% of people in the cultural sector who voted for Brexit (and where do they live?) And what happens if a museum sells off some of its old stuff (and will anyone notice?) These are some of the questions that keep Alistair Brown, Policy Officer at the Museums Association, awake at night. Together, we’ll look for answers.

    Emily Wiles & Bianca Manu – We’ll talk about our experience of working with Australia based artist Busty Beatz following her residency at Wellcome Collection as part of the Sick of The Fringe Festival in Feb 2017. Busty Beatz created ‘We are the Latest Models of Our Ancestry’, a 3-day Twitter takeover of @ExploreWellcome and an installation confronting uncomfortable truths in one of Wellcome Collection’s permanent galleries. It has fuelled conversations about the museum’s colonial past, cultural blind spots of the present and the urgent need to revise curation of collections in the future.

    Mahendra Mahey – A salutary tale laced with drama, humour, despair and inspiration of how the British Library managed to get a giant art piece originally exhibited at the Burning Man festival in Nevada USA to sit in the Library’s ‘Poet’s circle’ outside in the piazza for nearly 6 months. This is a story about what amazing things can happen when Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAMs) open their doors to their collections through digitisation.

    Rosie Clarke – Who has a crush on museums? How Culture24 tried out a daily Instagram photography experiment to help shape the look and feel of the new Museum Crush website.

    Melinda Haunton – Creating a new archives standard from scratch, in public, with as many people as possible? Looking back at the first years of Archive Service Accreditation, it seems like setting out to climb Everest. But we did it, we’re still standing, and I’m here to answer the questions you didn’t know you had.

    Nick Oram & Chloe Petts – Improvised comedy group Do Not Adjust Your Stage talk in collaboration with the National Gallery Young Producers about their sell-out show Blank Canvas –  an improvised comedy show inspired by the paintings in the gallery! The National Gallery Young Producers are a group of 18-25 year olds from diverse backgrounds dedicated to opening up the gallery to young people like them by exploring the collection in new ways.

    Sam Perrin – What does a headstone tell you about a life long gone? Join Cemetery Club’s Sam Perrin for a journey through various cemeteries (or ‘people museums’ as we like to call them) to view just how revealing, quirky and witty some people’s final memorials can be. From poignant to laugh-out-loud funny, you’ll never look at a graveyard the same way!

    Arti Prashar & Ellie Pridgeon – Spare Tyre is celebrating 40 years of participatory arts with an HLF funded project called ST40; Artistic Director Arti and Archivist Ellie will talk about setting off establishing the archive and recording oral histories. Spare Tyre started as a feminist theatre company. We were one of the first theatre companies to work creatively with schools on gay rights and gender equality. Our work now includes projects with adults with learning disabilities and older people. We don’t often get the chance to think about what we did yesterday, let alone 40 years ago. It’s time to take stock, take pride and preserve some memories.

    Laura Southall – Job hunting for the perfect museum role is a lot like dating to find your perfect man – it feels near-impossible, it makes you want to give up and hibernate with cats and it involves a lot of talking about yourself in an array of ridiculous ways. Having survived nearly 18 months of job applications and interviews, Laura will relive the highs and lows (let’s be honest, mainly lows) of finding ‘The One’.

     

  • Museums Showoff, May 23 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    HOORAY! It’s time for MORE TOP MUSEUM ACTION!

    We’ve lined up the crème de la crème of museum talent to entertain, astound and intrigue you. Join us on Tuesday 23 May, downstairs at The Phoenix. Doors open at 6.45pm, the show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee). Get one here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/401037

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

    Naomi Paxton – she acts, she does magic, she’s an expert on suffrage plays AND she’s your compere for the night! Find out more about our multi-talented MC here: http://www.naomipaxton.co.uk/

    Adam Koszary – My animated GIFs brought alive the amazing (and often stupid) centuries-old illustrations of Oxford University’s Bodleian Libraries. Come see how I lowered the tone of an august institution while managing to still educate as well as entertain.

    Jackie Keily – Add together 68,000-years-worth of London history, tens of thousands of objects, 200 archaeologists, over 100 kms of railway, eight tunnel boring machines and a saint. Divide by the available gallery space and showcases, and the result is ‘Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail’. Find out more in 9 minutes!

    Subhadra Das & Miranda Lowe – Racism is structural and it continues to be reiterated through monolithic institutions, most notably educational institutions like museums and universities. In a reprisal of their recent NatSCA 2017 Conference paper, Miranda Lowe and Subhadra Das will describe how natural history museums were and continue to be racist and – more importantly – suggest what they can do to change.

    Rachel Rose Reid – Do you want to open minds? Maybe even hearts? Rachel will share how storytelling builds joyful, authentic connections to collections, and why the imperfections and dark sides of certain tales are better dived into than left behind.

    Jenny Judova & Ed Lawless – When do you know that you ’emerged’ as a museum professional? Jenny and Ed will be talking about the London Emerging Museum Professionals Network, what it’s like to be emerging in a museum field and the importance of having peers to talk to.

    Matt Abbott – One of the strengths of poetry is connecting images, memory, creativity and information; so using poetry in musuem spaces is a match made in heaven. I’ll be discussing my relationship with three key museums and galleries, plus performing snippets of my work.

    Dan Vo – Explore the presence of LGBTQ individuals and communities within different time periods and cultures at the V&A museum. From the comfort of your seat, you’ll go on a virtual seven and a half mile tour of the museum: from the flamboyant to the modest, comic to the tragic, you’ll hear about the historical queer stories that need to be shared and remembered.

    Nick Harris & Lee Roberts – What happened when British Museum curator Dr Irving Finkel went head to head with YouTuber Tom Scott over the Royal Game of Ur – the world’s oldest playable board game? Nick Harris & Lee Roberts were there, and they filmed it!

  • Museums Showoff, March 21 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    HOORAY! It’s time for MORE SHOWING OFF!

    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 on Tuesday 21 March, downstairs at The Phoenix, where our brilliant performers will astonish and amaze you. Doors open 6.45pm, show starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee). Get one here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/392741

    Strutting their museum-y stuff on stage will be:

    Naomi Paxton – your compère for the night, Naomi is an awesome performer and an academic. She acts, juggles, does magic and is an expert on suffrage plays! Find out more here: http://www.naomipaxton.co.uk/

    Rosie Lampard – Rosie will be reporting from the front lines of visitor services in heritage with some of the peculiar and wonderful questions visitors ask.

    Sheldon Goodman – Cemeteries. No, no, don’t shudder. Cemeteries are remarkable open spaces that capture the beauty of human nature and are literal museums of the dead. Sheldon Goodman, of Cemetery Club.co.uk, will give you a brief introduction to some of the weird and wacky characters that lie beneath the surface – odd names, beautiful headstones – Sheldon’s nine minutes will have you going to your nearest one to find out more about our history.

    Prachi Joshi – Case 101: Uncovering the Universal Museum (at the British Museum.) My MA project invites people to evaluate the British Museum as a Universal Museum through a roleplaying event: a case, lawyers, jury and the Musuem. An alternative perspective to the Museum.

    Eleanor Margolies – Why do we see in a flash but take so long to say what we see? The process of describing objects for blind and partially sighted visitors is a chance to slow down and think about the complicated nature of visual perception.

    Catherine Freeman – Knowing about the history of teddy bears is essential. It must be as we have to tell thousands of children but we are concerned that adults are unaware of the tale of the bear and so feel charged to rectify this.

    Harriet Braine – Harriet Braine is a musical comedian* who sings about art history. She also works at the National Maritime Museum, and has written a song specially for Museums Showoff about it. *She’s a Funny Women Stage Award winner!

    Miranda Stearn – There are a few things that make me sad about Cambridge – the uninterrupted stream of bikes, the selfie-sticks, the overpriced wine bar next door. But the thing that makes me saddest is the knowledge that Cambridge ranks 5th worst in the country on the social mobility index, and we systematically fail our young people from low income backgrounds. I’m going to tell you a bit about how the University of Cambridge Museums and our partners are hoping to help change this.

    Korantema Anyimadu – Korantema will be performing a spoken word piece compiled from snippets of conversations she’s had, about people’s deepest, darkest and most shameful museum thoughts…

  • Museums Showoff, Jan 24 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    HOORAY!

    We’re back for 2017!

    We’re kicking off the new year with another incredible line up of top museum talent. Join us on Tuesday 24 January, downstairs at The Phoenix , where our brilliant performers will entertain, intrigue and amaze you. Doors open 6.45pm, show starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee), get one here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/386884

    Strutting their museum-y stuff on stage will be:

    Naomi Paxton – your compere for the night, Naomi is a performer and an academic. Her ‘portfolio’ career thus far has included acting, comedy, puppetry, magic and lots and lots of suffrage theatre. Find out more: www.naomipaxton.co.uk

    Sacha Coward – Scaring Children Sh*tless! Is it ok for museums to scare kids? But what if it makes them lose control of their bodily functions?! Sacha Coward (ex child scarer and current social justice warrior wannabe at the National Maritime Museum) will spill the beans on why scaring children can be a good thing but can get a bit… messy…

    Erica McAlister – Dead flies are the best flies? In Life and Death flies are the best species on the planet and I work with the best collection to highlight this FACT. Even in death, the four million flies in the collection are working to save your planet!

    The Queer Cabinet Brigade – Why is queer history still closeted in filing cabinets? Members of the Queer Cabinet Brigade present fabulous tales from queer history and dreams + schemes for an LGBTQI+ history museum in London.

    Claire Madge – My alter ego, Tincture of Museum, will be giving a 9 minute light hearted look at what autism is and explaining why autism and museums are the perfect fit given a little time and effort.

    Mark Taylor – Are people who don’t go to museums waiting for the sector to bring them into the light? I’ll use national-level data to show that museums’ diversity problem is much worse for the museums than it is for the people are trying to reach.

    Fiona Candlin – I’ll be talking about spending £1million on devising maps of UK museums from 1960 until now (and how I managed to get the cash!).

    The National Archives – In 1895, Oscar Wilde was found guilty of gross indecency for his relationship with Alfred Douglas, and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour. We’ll be performing a short play that brings to life the words of Oscar Wilde and his supporters – all taken directly from the trial and prison records in The National Archives collection.

    George Eksts – I’m a photographer at the V&A and an artist using digital media. I’ll be talking about how a museum could make 3D digital copies of objects, and how an artist might use and adapt these as part of their practice.

  • Museums Showoff, Nov 22 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    Hot on the heals of our STORMING first gig of the season, it’s time for MORE SHOWING OFF!

    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 on Tuesday 22 November, downstairs at The Phoenix, where our brilliant performers will astonish and amaze you. Doors open 6.45pm, show starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee). Get one here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/380210

    Strutting their museum-y stuff on stage will be:

    Gregory Akerman – the least working man in show business and one time employee of the science museum, Gregory will take your hand and guide you through this evening’s festivities. Gregory’s shows have acquired over 50 stars (the distribution of these is of little importance) and he’s been on the radio and everything, so you’re in safe hands!

    Kristin Hussey – Looking for Victorian eyes in the medical museum. Yep, it’s about what it sounds like. The Victorians were obsessed with their eyes, but when I went to museums to research the topic for my PhD, I was at a loss. Where did all the eyes in museums go? Were they ever there in the first place?

    Katie Childs – Three tweets a week, firearms and a horse vertebrae in the shape of John Wesley: influencing Government policy. NMDC represents the leaders of the UK’s national collections and major regional museums, and it is Katie’s job to find ways to influence Government policies which affect museums. In her set, she share her influencing ideas.

    James Lattin – Dr James Lattin will provide an update on the Museum of Imaginative Knowledge’s first ever tour of North America, including theories around the Flat Earth and New England’s largest toothbrush.

    Melanie Malherbe – A behind the scenes glimpse into the making of a nail-biting 10-part conservation mini series. The series tracks the conservation of a Romano-British Cinerary urn to get it ready for an long term international adventure.

    Adrian Steel – The Postal Museum is a place with a past… and an exciting future, including its own railway! Journey with me from one to the other, voting on a series of choices presented along the way.

    Anna Stothard – I’m a novelist and a hoarder of autobiographical possessions, fascinated by the art of telling stories using objects. I’ll be reading from my new novel, The Museum of Cathy, which is set over twenty four hours in a natural history museum about a young woman who curates a museum of her own life.

    Kevin Gosling – Three years ago, on Benjamin Britten’s hundredth birthday, the musical world threw the biggest party ever seen for any composer. Kevin Gosling sums up the things he learned as Communications Director for Britten 100, based at the centre of the whole global shindig: the Red House in Aldeburgh.

    Simon Watt – I’ll be talking about art, psychology and working out exactly what is wrong with our audience.

     

  • Museums Showoff, Oct 18 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    HOORAY!

    It’s time to kick off  another season of museum-y fun, and omg, what an incredible show we’ve got for you! Join us on Tuesday 18 October, downstairs at The Phoenix, where our brilliant performers will entertain, intrigue and astound you. Doors open 7pm,. Tickets are £6 (+ 60p booking fee). Get one here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/376009

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

    Gregory Akerman – Everybody’s favourite esoteric comic, the elusive, enigmatic, effervescent comic Gregory Akerman, shall shepherd us through this wonderful evening. He has written this – he is excited. www.gregoryakerman.org

    Eddie Johnston & Ben Whittle – This evening marks the debut performance of “Explainers! The Musical: A Story of Life and Learning”, the new musical extravaganza from Whittle and Johnston. Marvel as your two stars attempt to cram cumulative eight years of experience in museum education into less than 10 minutes, covering all your favourite musical tropes as they do!

    Sally James and Ella Hewitt – Transforming an empty Georgian house with a confusing history into an edgy new visitor attraction. With no set visitor route or red rope, boot sale finds on display, and restored rag rolled paint schemes, Rainham Hall is not your typical National Trust property.

    Charlotte Hopkins – Horror in Greater London Council Film Censorship files! I’ll delve into the London Metropolitan Archives to find out was deemed ‘horrific’. Be strong, as this archive story promises to, “offer no relief, hope of remedy, or escape.” Starring Dracula, Frankenstein and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre amongst others. Enter in to the Dark Eyes of London.

    Claire Haggerty – I’ll be speaking about my experiences working as a team leader in a busy disability access department. I’ll also talk about my Masters thesis looking into disability access in heritage settings and how that provision is planned for according to different audience needs and operational restrictions.

    John Kannenberg – The Museum of Portable Sound brings the culture of sound to the world, one listener at a time – literally, as you have to make an appointment for a private tour. I’ll be talking about the Museum’s collections, playing some of its sounds, and revealing why this museum is not an app – it’s an experience.

    Catherine Jones – I really love LEDs in the Science museum! I’ll talk about how I turned Lightning data, LEDs and anti static bags into a sculpture for a secret art exhibition.

    Holly Parsons – How do you create a successful work force development programme? I’ll tell you about my experiences of the Royal Pavilion and Museums’ programme.

    Bhavani Esapathi – Bhavani Esapathi Co-Directs MOOCs on Arts Management at The Goethe-Institut whilst having founded a health startup jointly funded by Innovate UK & Arts Council England called The Invisible Labs. Proudly unemployable but having worked with numerous museums & galleries across Europe, Bhavani will be talking about ‘how to make shit happen’ within the museums sector in an age where all of us are overcoming financial challenges in the arts.

     

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Season 5: September 2015-July 2016

  • Standby for Season 6!

    We’re taking an early summer break (there’ll be no show in July), but we’ll be back in the autumn. Watch this space for details of our next shows!

  • Museums Showoff, May 24 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    Hooray! The sun is out, the birds are singing, the sky is blue and it’s time for more museum-y fun!

    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 on 24 May 2016, where our brilliant performers will astonish and amaze you. For this show we’ll be at Cafe 1001, 91 Brick LaneDoors open 7pm, with the gig starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 – get yours here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/360607

    Taking to the stage in all their museum-y glory will be:

    Naomi Paxton – your MC for the night, Naomi can act, juggle, tell jokes and write academic papers, sometimes all at once! Check out her work at www.naomipaxton.co.uk

    Katherine McAlpine – All museums have got slightly cringeworthy euphemistic terms for the people they’re trying to get through the door. But what about the people who are already here? I share some observations of my favourite audience groups who visit the National Maritime Museum, from clock botherers to right-on leftie families.

    Tim Dunn – Drunk in Museums; Drunk Aboard Steam Trains. Tim Dunn takes us on a drink-along whistle-stop tour of places he half remembers through the medium of receipts and tweeted selfies.

    Daniella Hadley – How do you squeeze a bizarre assortment of museum and heritage roles into just a 9 minute set? Well, let’s find out! From Bubbles to Obama, I’ll be sharing highlights from my time in the sector

    Danny Garside – Danny is a researcher at UCL, exploring how museums use lighting. What is the ideal museum lighting? What do the numbers mean? How do we light whilst limiting damage? Danny will answer none of these questions and more…

    Katie Birkwood – John Dee might be Tudor England’s most (in)famous cult figure, revered and reviled as a scholar, courtier, magician and more. At the Royal College of Physicians we’ve uncovered the man behind the myth using books that Dee himself once owned: find out how.

    Elisha Mason – Unexpected mummified feet, duplicate Santas and the Great Jam Heist: just some of the things I’ve experienced as a museum trainee. I’ll be sharing some of the weird, wonderful and colourful moments I’ve had so far in the mad world of museums, and why now more than ever I’m sure I want to spend the rest of my life working in them.

    Sara Wajid – I’ll be sharing highlights from my adventures smashing the museum patriarchy, including surviving feminist leadership boot camp with 20 overachievers and how to keep a straight face when Shami Chakrabarti makes you cheer for Tampon Day.

    Adam Koszary – What do you do when you find a freshly dead mouse in a Victorian mousetrap, itself a museum object? Like any sensible museum, you put it on the internet and go viral. Let me walk you through the Museum of English Rural Life’s 15 minutes of global fame.

    AND MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED!

  • Museums Showoff, April 5 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    Hooray! It’s spring! Soon there will be sunshine and blue sky and flowers…and more top class museum-related entertainment!

    Join us on Tuesday 5th April at The Slaughtered Lamb where the crème de la crème of museum folk will entertain, intrigue and amaze you. Doors open 7pm. Tickets are £5, get one here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/353675

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

    Gregory Akerman – Everybody’s favourite esoteric comic, the elusive, enigmatic, effervescent comic Gregory Akerman, shall shepherd us through this wonderful evening. He has written this – he is excited. www.gregoryakerman.org

    Aditi Anand & Emily Miller – How do you start a museum from scratch…about a politically charged topic…in a time of museum cuts? We’ll tell you about the roller coaster ride of a museum start up and the uncertain but exciting future of The Migration Museum Project.

    Sacha Coward – Royal Museums Greenwich just celebrated its first ever LGBT history month and we did it in a big way! I want to talk about how amazing this was and share some of my experiences including; Bestiality as a topic for children’s workshops, how to use a Viking horn she-wee and the horror of squid mouth-impregnation…

    Tom Underwood – Come and hear how London Campaign Against Arms Trade uses Thomas the Tank Engine costumes, homemade zombie masks, cardboard drones and plastic scythes to protest against the arms trade’s sponsorship of museums in the capital.

    Becky Hogg – Becky will deliver a one-woman show exploring her experience of trying to break into the museums sector in a paid capacity. Having recently completed a course entitled ‘Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum’ through FutureLearn, Becky is determined to apply her outsider skills to working in museums. Using anecdotes from her experiences, this performance delivers a satirical view of the meaning and ethics behind ‘free labour’ in the art world.

    Alex Jackson – As trainees we’re known as the babies of the museum sector, but what do actual babies have to say about museums? I’ll be sharing some hilarious, adorable and down-right inspirational thoughts straight out of the mouths of babes!

    Sara Huws – When the new women’s museum on Cable St opened last year, none of us were expecting the whole thing to be devoted to Jack the Ripper. This is the story of how we decided to build something better: the East End Women’s Museum.

    Tim Dunn – Drunk in Museums; Drunk Aboard Steam Trains. Tim Dunn takes us on a drink-along whistle-stop tour of places he half remembers through the medium of receipts and tweeted selfies.

    Verity-Jane Keefe – The Mobile Museum: An itinerant Museum. A Lending Library. A collection. A public programme. A filmwork. A series of publications. 12 housing estates. 1 London Borough. An ambitious, multi-strand art project conceived, developed and delivered by artist Verity-Jane Keefe is being delivered across the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. She will share images, thought processes, concerns, desires and future plans from the Mobile Museum.

    Tickets: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/353675

  • Museums Showoff, 2 Feb – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    We’re back for 2016!

    Let’s have more museum-y fun!

    We’ve lined up the creme de la creme of museum talent to reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects. And we’ve got the first of our new compères!

    Join us at The Slaughtered Lamb on 2 February 2016, where our brilliant performers will astonish and amaze you. Doors open 7pm, with the gig starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 – get yours here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/347107

    Showing off their museum-y amazingness will be:

    Naomi Paxton – your MC for the night, Naomi has an eclectic career so far – from acting in the West End to shadow puppetry in rural Romania via a bit of light juggling. She also regularly performs at comedy, magic and cabaret nights as Ada Campe. Naomi is also an academic, with interests including suffrage plays and theatre and poverty. www.naomipaxton.co.uk

    Rosie Clarke – Since 2012, Culture24 have led Connect! – a unique competition where museums can win thousands of pounds and the chance to work with a top contemporary artist on their Museums at Night festival events. From mass nudity to ocean plunges to a deluge of clocks, I’ll share some of the bizarre highlights from this project, and explain why you should pitch for an artist in 2016!

    Dea Birkett & Rebecca Mileham – Stand well back, writers Dea Birkett and Rebecca Mileham are about to raid their vaults of terrible museum text and reveal stinkers from all over the world. From labels that are too long and boring to panels that are basically meaningless, they ask how museums get away with it.

    Sian Toogood – Do you want to fall 10 metres into a pit filled with  60,000 balls or erect a 38 tonne crane to protect Ben Stiller’s hair? Well if you do then Sian Toogood can help, but only if you want to film it and ONLY if it’s at the British Museum.

    Thomas Flynn & Jonathan Beck – Everyone’s talking about 3d scanning, but isn’t it just an expensive fad? Jon and Tom will talk about some cheap accessible methods for turning the physical into the virtual and will give the low down on two projects that put the scans to use – Scan the World’s crowd-sourced archive, and Museum in a Box, which gets objects out of museums and into people’s hands.

    Charlotte Hopkins – From the Importance of Being Sexy to Vortex, the Greater London Council Film Censorship files at the London Metropolitan Archive are anything but dull. I’ll provide highlights from the files of these lesser known films that were banned or censored for London audiences in the 1970s. As the Director General said: “The arts are sometimes intended to be disturbing, not reassuring, and what is intended to disturb may sometimes give offence.” Be prepared to be shocked, surprised and amused.

    Jenny Blay – Help! I’ve fallen in love with my project plan template. I work at a Museum Learning School in Slough and it is my secret weapon in a world of PPPs, EBIs, HAs and Progress 8.

    Megan Gooch – My name is Megan and I’m addicted to coins! But why coins? What is it about small change that holds such allure? What could possibly be so good about coins that I have devoted a sizable portion of my life so far to them? Come along, and I will induct you into the mysterious and amazing world of numismatics where the love of money is not the root of all evil.

    Steve Rawlings – A talk on how one mobile game was written before being broken up into ten fully functioning museum apps. I’ll tell you how game technology was employed for the museum experience, what design decision were made, and how it is being developed further.

  • Museums Showoff, Nov 24 – 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! We have lots of museum-y fun to cheer you up!

    Join us on Tuesday 24 November downstairs at The Slaughtered Lamb where ten top museum people will reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects. Doors open 7pm, for a start at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 (+50p booking fee) and you can get one here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/338825.

    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.

    Jason Webber – The British Library saves all of the UK Web space. Yes, ALL of it and if you think that you have a big collection, we are adding two billion new things every single year! Apart from wowing you with big numbers I will show that we have answered the really BIG questions in life, such as ‘who is best: cats or dogs?’ and ‘did Steve Jobs travel through time to invent the iPhone?’

    Esther Redhouse White – Esther guides tours at Highgate Cemetery. She’ll be talking about bodysnatching, bread, and a few of her favourite graves.

    Jonathan Schifferes – Where in Britain has the most heritage? How could you measure this fairly? Hear from data nerd Jonathan Schifferes (the RSA) and win a prize if you can suggest the most amazing data source for next year’s Heritage Index.

    Emma Smith – I am the exhibition registrar for Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age at the Science Museum. I’ll be giving behind the scenes insights into the logistical challenges of transporting large spacecraft from Russia to the Museum in London.

    Bente Pedersen, Adam Bencard & Karin Tybjerg – Something old, something new, something bottled, something blueSiamese twins and blood from biobanks. How do you make an exhibition about how medicine makes knowledge out of bodies? We’ll talk about “The Body Collected” at Medical Museion, Copenhagen.

    Gregory Akerman – What do creationism and Jack the Ripper have in common – they are both subjects of controversial museums in England. For your entertainment, Gregory has gone to both museums and asked them about each other. Perhaps a creationist’s view of a Jack museum and a Ripper enthusiast’s view of a creationist museum will shed some light on these subjects (probably not, but it could be good fun).

    James Lattin – Dr James Lattin, curator of the Museum of Imaginative Knowledge, will introduce the recently discovered Judley Bequest, and some different histories of the English country house.

    Nick Harris – A live performance of the podcast Nick hasn’t made yet! Nick really wants to make a podcast about the British Museum, and the Museum actually agreed. In an ideal world, he’d just take an audio recorder to the pub and dump it on iTunes. That’s not allowed, so now he actually has to make one…help???

    Dana Kovarik – In 1912, University College London received a gift of a collection of phenological busts that had been the life’s work of Robert Noel, an English phrenologist who worked predominantly in Bohemia. These heads are currently housed in UCL Museums Teaching and Research Collections and Noel’s story has been a relative mystery – until recently. Our recent research has uncovered a variety of publications by, and about, Robert Noel and his work in the field of phrenology which show he was a very key figure of the field’s popularity in the mid-nineteenth century.

    Tony Harris – The AHFAP story: building UK cultural heritage imaging knowledge nodes. In April 1985, a group of photographers based in national museums in London, met with the aim to share knowledge and information. Thirty years later, the Association for Historical & Fine Art Photography has 300 members throughout the UK and Ireland. This is a story of how collaboration can and does benefit, especially in an age of continually evolving technologies and methodologies.

  • 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: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/329996

    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.

     

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Season 4: September 2014-July 2015

  • 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: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/324139 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.

    PLUS A VERY SPECIAL GUEST…

  • 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

    HELLO LONDON!

    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: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/311510 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: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/305525. 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: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/305525

  • Museums Showoff 15, Dec 2 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

    A LIMITED NUMBER OF TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE DOOR

    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.

    PLUS ONE MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED!

    A LIMITED NUMBER OF TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE DOOR

     

  • Museums Showoff Edinburgh, Nov 25 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

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

    We’ve lined up the creme de la creme of Scottish museum talent to reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects, and thanks to those lovely folk at the Scottish Museums Federation 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 in the Ballroom at the Voodoo Rooms on Tuesday 25 NovemberDoors open at 7.00pm. Entry is free, but donations will be requested on the door for our charity of the month. We suggest a donation of £5. 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 has an extensive collection of checked shirts.

    Jason Finch  – Confessions of a Curator: a trawl through 15 years working in the sector, in England and Scotland, and some of the strange and odd situations you find found yourself, both when dealing with the public and colleagues. Names have been changed to protect the innocent (not to mention to avoid libel cases) and whilst all will be true, some incidents might be enhanced for effect.

    Neil Lebeter – The Day I Broke Rule #1 of Museum Club: Don’t Set Fire to the Things. I will tell the story of the time I burned an art work, why I did it, how it felt and the consequences, which were unexpected. Watch me break out in a cold sweat as I relive the experience, complete with evidence of the actual event.

    Martha Findlay & Tawona Sithole – we’ll talk about the potential challenges of curating African perspectives in relation to the David Livingstone narrative!

    Lyn Cunningham & Paul Gray – Glasgow design team Suisse will talk you through their experiences in realising their brief to reinterpret The Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine.

    Graeme Hawley – The Joy of Spines.  Graeme Hawley makes you sit up straight with a tour amongst the book stacks.

    Christine McLean – I’ll share with you our terrifying experience of a zombie virus spreading through the National Museum of Scotland, turning staff and some visitors in to flesh-eating monsters.

    Ralph Moffat – Animal, vegetable, or mineral, it’ll do anything to anything! Glasgow Museums has weapons for war, hunting, and just plain showing off (jousting and tournaments). This short PowerPoint formatted slideshow will have (non-moving) images of this amazing collection.

    Susan Morrison – Susan Morrison belongs in a museum, since she is a 55 year old comic, in relatively good condition and only slightly foxed around the edges. An equivalent copy of the Beano or Dandy would fetch a good price in an auction, which means she should fetch a decent price. She’s not telling what she’s doing- you have to be there!

    Henrietta Lidchi – Is seeing believing? Tales from museums and fieldwork, at the British Museum and beyond.

    Pam Barnes – Staging the Museum: a short talk on the use of performance to build on community engagement.

  • Museums Showoff 14, Tues 30 Sept – LINE UP ANNOUNCED!

    HELLO LONDON!

    It’s time to kick off a new season 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 30 September, downstairs at The Slaughtered Lamb, where our brilliant performers will entertain, intrigue and astound you. Doors open 7pm. Entry is free, but we will be collecting on the door for our charity of the month. We suggest a donation of £5.

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

    Steve Cross – A man who knows his geek from his nerd, Steve is your compère for the evening, telling jokes and keeping everyone to time.

    David Di Duca & Ross Cairns – What really happens at museums during the dead of night? The team behind After Dark tell the tale of when the robots took over Tate Britain and revealed the galleries at night to the world.

    Robert Bidder – What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ingested? What would your Superpower be? Where would you go in a time machine? These are just some of the weekly questions we’ve asked our visitors and twitter followers over the last year. Once I’ve decided what the best answers are, I draw a big picture of them on Wellcome Collection’s gallery wall and try my best to make it as daft or disgusting as possible.

    Carole Souter – Every curator knows just what they’d buy if they had a (modest) pot of gold to spend. Collecting Cultures made some of those dreams come true – this is what some lucky curators did with their pot.

    Mark Dennis – Brothers and sisters, knights and nobles. Have you ever taken tea with a daughter of the Phoenix? Had a pint with a Buffalo or paraded with a Forester? If not then you probably don’t know about the rich fraternal history of the UK. I’ll give you a whirlwind tour of a museum collection from a world where royalty wear aprons, workers have noble titles and women call each other brother.

    James Lattin – A short introduction to the Museum of Imaginative Knowledge, including key items from its collections as well as a report from its recent tour around the UK. The Museum focuses on objects and information that you would not find in more authoritative institutions.

    Debbie Challis – Confessions of an Institutionphobe. A self help session to ease my Foucauldian masochism caused by my instinctive distrust of museums and institutions that ‘produce knowledge’, although I am myself wedged into the posterior of institutional knowledge production.

    Rupert Acton – A selection of readings from 18 pieces of writing responding to 18 objects from the Horniman Museum’s Anthropology Collection. Using a research led approach, objects from around the world are explored from the perspective of a lifelong Londoner, there will be poetry, prose and at least one joke.

    Gregory Akerman – In the early 1900s, the Smithsonian Museum was accused of covering up all evidence of a race of giants in an effort to undermine centuries of religious and mythic speculation. Gregory will use this tale to explore the responsibility of museums to keep themselves free from both mistakes & lies – but Gregory will do this with jokes and a frankly insulting lack of research.

    Naomi Campbell – I’ll be showing off the most innovative, playful and anarchic garden in the National Trust’s cannon – how we did it, why we did it and why a Tudor knot garden just wouldn’t do!

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Season 3: September 2013-July 2014

  • Museums Showoff at the Bloomsbury Theatre, June 10 – MORE DETAILS

    TICKET LINK

    Museums Showoff, the cabaret-style night for all those who work in and love museums, will be at the Bloomsbury Theatre on Tuesday 10 June starting 7.30pm, where a stellar cast of museum talent will reveal what REALLY goes on in museums!

    If you want to hear intriguing insights, get the low down on amazing projects and glean all the behind-the-scenes gossip, this is the show for you! Taking to the stage for this extravaganza of wit and wisdom, objects and exhibitions will be:

    Steve Cross – former curator and your compère for the evening, Steve likes to demonstrate his love for museums by telling jokes and wearing silly t shirts.

    Paolo Viscardi – Beyond the Walrus: A tale of rivalry, death, zombies and reconciliation in the secret world of the Horniman Museum’s stores.

    Rosie Clarke – I’ll be telling stories about Swansea Museum’s connection to water, featuring Swansea Jack the lifesaving dog, and what happened when artist Amy Sharrocks persuaded the citizens to fall into the sea as part of her Museums at Night “I Want To Fall Day Trip”. I’ll be going to Swansea to follow what happens, but will I end up in the water myself?

    Dan Schreiber – co-creator and producer of Radio 4’s Museum of Curiosity will tell us about imaginary museums.

    Katherine Curran – “Heritage Smells or The Terrible Fate of Tropical Ken”. Delivered entirely in verse, this will be both a description of my research on the conservation of historic plastics and an account of the dreadful things that happened to a Ken doll who found himself in one of UCL’s laboratories.

    Roald Dahl Museum storytellers – Wondercrump interactive regaling from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes by two of the very best storytellers from The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. Previously described as ‘mad-cap’, ‘high-octane’ and capable of whipping the audience into a frenzy (OK, so most of them were eight years old…) it’s time to prepare to be Dahl-lighted!

    Corrinne Burns – At the Science Museum we encourage visitors to leave comments about our exhibits. We get feedback from scientists, museum fans, critics and others… Tonight, I’ll take you on a nine-minute tour of some of the best!

    Rebecca Mileham & Dea Birkett –  Sharpen your pencils, it’s time to bring an end to terrible museum text that’s long, boring or basically meaningless. Writers Dea Birkett and Rebecca Mileham share the latest examples from their collection of terrible museum text, and ask why we let museums get away with it.

    Lucy Inglis – These are exciting times for museum visitor experiences! I’ll talk about my work with museums & galleries to create new events, including pub crawls debating the rise of philanthropy, LGBT history workshops and walks discussing eighteenth century identity.

    Mark Carnall – Everyone who works in museums is in it together right? Sometimes art and science curators can seem worlds apart. Art is often synonymous with ‘culture’ but science museums are more popular with visitors. I’ll ask why can’t we just all get along and share the best of both worlds.

    Tickets for the gig are £7 and are available from the Bloomsbury Theatre ticket website or in person at the box office (where there’s no transaction fee). All proceeds are going to Arts Emergency who offer mentoring, advice & support for 16-19 year olds from diverse backgrounds who want to do an arts or humanities degree … just the kind of qualification you need to work in a museum!

    This gig is suitable for people aged over 16 years old.

  • Museums Showoff Manchester 2, May 29 – LINE-UP ANNOUNCED

    Hello Manchester! Are you ready for some top class museum-related entertainment? We’ve lined up the creme de la creme of Manucian museum talent to reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects, and thanks to those lovely folk at the Institute of Cultural Practices 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 in the Engine Hall at the People’s History Museum on Thursday 29 May. Doors open at 6.30pm. Entry is free, but donations will be requested on the door for our charity of the month. We suggest a donation of £5. Please note this show is suitable for over 18s only.

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

    Steve Cross – your bespectacled compère and wearer of nerdy t shirts. He will tell jokes, muck about and try to keep things to time.

    Catherine Robins – In June, Unlocking Ideas Worth Fighting For – a joint project between the People’s History Museum and Working Class Movement Library – will host a 24-hour hackathon. What, why and how are all questions we’ve been grappling with. As the event deadline looms I will be talking about the event to come and about finally having the answers to those questions. Well, *hopefully* having the answers – don’t want to jinx it.

    Charlie Battersby – Fuzzy Duck are a creative agency who approach our work with museums and galleries like wide eyed and wondrous children, with curiosity, joy and daring. I’ll be talking about a recently completed project with the Manchester United Museum from the perspective of both a designer and mildly obsessive, impressionable and ultimately proud, life long United fan.

    Irving Czechowicz – I’ll tell you about the unique  story of Maharaja the Asian Elephant who walked from Scotland to Manchester and ended up on the first floor of the Manchester Museum.

    Jennifer Reid – Local singer Jennifer Reid will discuss and perform working class songs from Chetham’s Library’s nineteenth-century broadside ballad collection.

    Angela Whitecross & Jennifer Mabbott – ReCycle Rochdale is a collaborative art project between Rochdale Pioneers Museum, artist Richard Dawson and a youth group in Rochdale exploring co-operatives and cycling, which will to mark the Tour De France passing through the borough. This result is a co-operative kinetic bike art sculpture, which will be part of our ‘Journey into Co-operative Cycling’ exhibition. This set will document the truly co-operative nature of this exciting project and showcase the final creation!

    Alison Atkin – Out of Sight. How being alone in a room filled with brains at MOSI, severely craving the effects of caffeine, and one off-hand tweet resulted in a series of short stories.

    Ingrid Francis – I’ll divulge some of the opinions I heard during my recent research into museums’ use of social media to encourage visitors to engage with collections.

     

  • Museums Showoff with M+H Show, May 14 – LINE-UP ANNOUNCED

    It’s May! The sun is out, the sky is blue and we have a night of amazing museum-y fun lined up!

    We’ve teamed up with with the folks at the Museums + Heritage Show for a special post-Show gig. Join us on Wednesday 14th May downstairs at the ArchangelKensington High Street, W8where our line up of top museum talent will entertain, intrigue and amaze you. Doors open 6.30pm. Entry is free, but we will be collecting on the door for our charity of the month. We suggest a donation of £5.

    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, mucking about and poking fun at museums.

    Stella Duffy & Sarah-Jane Rawlings – Arts and sciences, participants as activists and audience as makers – Fun Palaces offers all this and more. On October 4/5 this year 75+ Fun Palaces will pop up across the UK and internationally in museums, parks, libraries – wherever the community wants them. Tonight, as a taster – The 9 Minute Mini Fun Palace!

    Matthew Ward – Broadcaster and edutainer, Matthew Ward, has suffered and died in ‘Horrible Histories’, and lived and thrived on history from childhood. Find out about the strange, silly and sinister experiences he’s had in museums and heritage properties.

    Michele Fuirer – “Coming here has been very important for me because although I have lost so much language, I am learning to see”. I will describe a long term project for people with aphasia run by the community learning team at Tate Modern and show a short film made in which Michael Hussey describes some of the ways his experience has been transformed by looking at art.

    Diana Pearce –  A presentation about the #FlashmobScience project which aims to highlight the scientific links of historic places/historic objects within a museum or organisation through talks, demonstrations and question & answer sessions. It will be fun, I am sometimes known to turn up in some sort of costume!

    Stephen Wolstenholme – In Here Today, Obsolete Tomorrow, Stephen Wolstenholme tells how he is creating a mobile museum of obsolete technology in an ex-NHS vehicle.  So put away your touch screens, get nostalgic for your old gadgets, and hear about the challenge of designing, operating, funding and exhibiting a private, travelling museum.

    Selina Pang – Getting Behind The Glass: the trials and tribulations of photographing iconic museum objects for our iPad app and how we’re using this tech to bring the museum to your gadgets. Includes genetically modified sheep, a space capsule experience and lots of nights at the museum. Let me take you on Journeys of Invention…

    Chris Walker – From the mouths of babes; the outstanding reaction of schoolchildren to the new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre. Just how fired-up do you think this age group can get about a battle 700 years ago? Let’s see…

    Mary Godwin – A blatant promo for some of the South West’s museums, with a scientific twist.

  • Museums Showoff at the Bloomsbury Theatre! June 10th

    Do you like museums?

    Do you want to hear intriguing insights, get the low down on amazing projects and get all the behind-the-scenes gossip?

    Well, we’ve got the show for you!

    Museums Showoff, the cabaret-style night for all those who work in and love museums, will be at the Bloomsbury Theatre on Tuesday 10 June where a stellar cast of museum talent will reveal what REALLY goes on in museums!

    These are just some of the acts who will be taking to the stage for this extravaganza of wit and wisdom, objects and exhibitions:

    Paolo Viscardi – Beyond the Walrus: A tale of rivalry, death, zombies and reconciliation in the secret world of the Horniman Museum’s stores.

    Katherine Curran – “Heritage Smells or The Terrible Fate of Tropical Ken”. Delivered entirely in verse, this will be both a description of my research on the conservation of historic plastics and an account of the dreadful things that happened to a Ken doll who found himself in one of UCL’s laboratories.

    Roald Dahl Museum storytellers – Wondercrump interactive regaling from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes by two of the very best storytellers from The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. Previously described as ‘mad-cap’, ‘high-octane’ and capable of whipping the audience into a frenzy (OK, so most of them were eight years old…) it’s time to prepare to be Dahl-lighted!

    Corrinne Burns – At the Science Museum we encourage visitors to leave comments about our exhibits. We get feedback from scientists, museum fans, critics and others… Tonight, I’ll take you on a nine-minute tour of some of the best!

    Rebecca Mileham & Dea Birkett –  Sharpen your pencils, it’s time to bring an end to terrible museum text that’s long, boring or basically meaningless. Writers Dea Birkett and Rebecca Mileham share the latest examples from their collection of terrible museum text, and ask why we let museums get away with it.

    Lucy Inglis – These are exciting times for museum visitor experiences! I’ll talk about my work with museums & galleries to create new events, including pub crawls debating the rise of philanthropy, LGBT history workshops and walks discussing eighteenth century identity.

    Rosie Clarke – I’ll be telling stories about Swansea Museum’s connection to water, featuring Swansea Jack the lifesaving dog, and what happened when artist Amy Sharrocks persuaded the citizens to fall into the sea as part of her Museums at Night “I Want To Fall Day Trip”. I’ll be going to Swansea to follow what happens, but will I end up in the water myself?

    Mark Carnall – cheerleader for underwhelming fossils and curator of the Grant Museum.

    Plus one more act to be announced!

    Tickets for the gig are £7 and are available from the Bloomsbury Theatre ticket website or in person at the box office (where there’s no transaction fee). All proceeds are going to a local charity.

    This gig is suitable for people aged over 16 years old.

  • Museums Showoff 12, Tues 1st April – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

    Hooray! It’s spring! There’s sunshine and blue sky and flowers…and another night of amazing museum-y fun!

    Join us on Tuesday 1st April, downstairs at The Slaughtered Lamb 34-35 Great Sutton Street, EC1V 0DX, where ten brilliant performers will entertain, intrigue and amaze you. Doors open 7pm. Entry is free, but we will be collecting on the door for our charity of the month, the Choir With No Name, which uses music to help homeless people get their lives back on track. We suggest a donation of £5.

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

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

    Tim Dunn – Extreme Trainspotting: why the war-torn country of Sierra Leone really needed a railway museum.

    Carla Valentine – It’s What’s Inside That Counts! A humorous look at death by foreign object insertion, using objects from Barts Pathology Museum.

    Sam Fieldhouse – Archiving Music Without Any Music: an ex-teacher’s baptism into a world of well-meaning widows, opposing opinions and extensive ephemera.

    Stacy Hackner – Postcards were an essential form of communication from the late 19th to mid-20th century. This was also the heyday of anti-Semitism, leading to the formation of this curious collection that’s in need of an appropriate home.

    Mary Rose Gunn – I’ll be talking about Two Temple Place, London’s first exhibition venue dedicated to showcasing highlights from regional collections.

    Dave O’Brien – What’s the value of museums? I’ll talk about how we value museums in public policy, how we use a range of ideas about value that we possibly shouldn’t and why we do this. There might even be some suggestions of how to make the value of museums a little bit clearer!

    Jenni Fewery, Bryony Morgan & Christina Hink – Don’t Lose Your Head! A gruesome glimpse at the plaster cast of a murderer and the pseudoscience of phrenology.

    Jon Ablett – Release the Kraken – from mythical monsters to a marvellously modern mollusc! A guide to what we know (and don’t know) about the giant squid, Architeuthis dux, and how museum specimens have increased our knowledge of this and other cephalopod species.

    Martin Sach – Museums can be great platforms for artists. The London Canal Museum has considerable experience of hosting art shows, and Martin Sach will draw lessons from this experience from the museum perspective.

  • Museums Showoff Bristol, 20 March – LINE-UP ANNOUNCED

    Hello South West England! Are you ready for some top class museum-related entertainment?

    We’ve lined up the creme de la creme of the south-west’s museum talent to reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects. Thanks to those ace people at SW Museums Development Programme we’re coming to a venue near you.

    Museums Showoff, the cabaret-style night for all those who work in and love museum, will be at The Grain Barge, Bristol BS8 on Thursday 20 March 2014, Doors open at 7.00pm. Entry is free, but we will be collecting donations on the door for Off the Record, who offer counselling & support to people under 25. We suggest a donation of £5.

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

    Steve Cross – your compère for the evening: telling jokes, introducing acts and keeping things to time.

    Laura Hilton – Laura Hilton is currently turning a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund into a shiny new Visitor Centre for the 150th anniversary of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. To avoid doing any additional  work, she is using this research to bring you tales of daring (or derring) do and desperation from the archives – with a bit of mythbusting, a world champion who was terrible at hide and seek, and a surprising amount about turnips

    Nancy Heath – I’ll be taking an amusing and quirky look at the stories of scandal and bad behaviour of the St John family of Lydiard House. William Shakespeare said that “men’s vows are women’s traitors” and you’ll hear that the St John men were traitors indeed with our tale of mistresses, divorces and illegitimate heirs.

    Richard Jaeschke – Busting the myth: how (almost) everything you know about conservation is wrong, what conservators really get up to and why you need to know!

    Team SSGB – The many faces of Brunel: amid a sea of assumptions and misconceptions the SS Great Britain team set sail on a voyage of discovery to find the ‘real’ Brunel. Expect ‘riveting’ content!

    Liz Neathey – It’s time for museums to take control to achieve sustainable futures. Find out about an innovative programme being delivered through South West Museum Development.

    Janine Marriott – Life, death, murder, medicine and madness. All featuring in a whistle stop tour of creepy tales, burrowing badgers, crying kids and family fun at Arnos Vale with Janine Marriott, learning coordinator.

    Mark Small – Red Lodge? What’s that? Where is it? Is it open? I didn’t know Bristol had a knot garden! Or an Elizabethan oak-panelled room! A brief introduction to the Red Lodge – who we are, where we are, what we are, and what we want to be in future.

    Zak Mensah – Why open practices make Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives better. I think sharing is caring, so I’ll be talking about why I care so much about sharing what we do with digital technology across the service and in public.

    Rebecca Clay – Do you remember when ACE told us we should recruit young, trendy ‘Arts Ambassadors’ to attend events unpaid, on behalf of our organisation, and we all laughed? Well they didn’t get it all wrong. I will be looking at the how to get the best out of the people who act as ambassadors for your organisation.

    Anna Farthing – Kiss: A Story of Life and Death. Share a disturbing discovery from the Thackray Museum’s ‘Magic of Medicine’ exhibition and hear about the UK Medical Collections Group’s current ACE funded project, ‘From the Medicine Cabinet’.

  • Museums Showoff 11, Tuesday 4 Feb – LINE-UP ANNOUNCED

    We’re back for 2014! It’s going to be ace! We’ve planned loads of gigs so that even more amazing museums people can tell us behind-the-scenes stories and incredible projects. AND we’ve got a fab new venue.

    We’re kicking things off on Tuesday 4 February, downstairs at The Slaughtered Lamb  34-35 Great Sutton Street, EC1V 0DX. Doors open 7pm. Entry is free, but we will be collecting on the door for our charity of the month, National Youth Arts Trust, which provides access to the performing arts for young people from non-privileged backgrounds. We suggest a donation of £5.

    Lining up to astound, entertain and enlighten you with their tales from the museum world will be:

    Steve Cross – a man who eats deep-fried gherkins for kicks.* He is also your compère for the evening: telling jokes, introducing acts and keeping things to time.

    Kate Tyte – The totally unorthodox guide to museum archives! Featuring robots, Nicholas Cage, Indiana Jones and beards!

    Liberate Tate – A love triangle: Tate, BP and us. What we love, what we hate, and why we want to Liberate Tate.

    Nick Booth – I’m a curator at UCL where I look after the corpse of everyone’s favourite moral philosopher: Jeremy Bentham’s auto-icon. I’ll be talking about what being his curator is like, some of the work that involves and discussing some of the myths and legends that have grown up around him.

    Lowri Jones – A day in the life of a Collections Storage Assistant. I’ll be talking about what moving 26,000 objects into a new building for the British Museum actually entails, and looking at some of the weird and wonderful objects that we have found buried in long-forgotten corners of the stores.

    Erica McAlister – My desk is covered in maggots. My post contains maggots. My research often focuses on maggots. So often the focus of revulsion I will chat about what they are and why they’re so important. Fear not, I will bring along some of the NHM maggot collections and show how they have helped answer very important questions.

    Phil Loring – Phil Loring, Curator of Psychology at the Science Museum, will describe how two extraordinary larger-than-life models of the brain have pursued, delighted, and tormented him over the past year and a half.

    Natasha Powers – I’ll be using my 9 minutes to tell the story of the archaeological excavation which inspired a recent Museum of London exhibition. A tale of 19th century medical and scientific inquiry, and of two Williams, one a respectable clergyman, the other a resurrectionist with a formidable wife.

    David Mentiply – We walked, and talked, our way to 26 museums in one day to raise money for Guide Dogs UK. Find out what happened in this whistle-stop talk about the Museum Marathon day!

    Sarah Mahood – I’ll be talking about the Horniman Museum’s loans project Object in Focus. We loan to museums, libraries and others – what makes it easy to borrow our objects?

    Dave O’Brien – What’s the value of museums? I’ll talk about how we value museums in public policy, how we use a range of ideas about value that we possibly shouldn’t and why we do this. There might even be some suggestions of how to make the value of museums a little bit clearer!

    *Do not try this at home. Or anywhere else. Really. They’re disgusting.

  • Museums Showoff 10, Monday 2 Dec – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

    Museum fans! Want to escape the winter blues? Keep out of the cold and the rain? Avoid boring office parties and actually have some FUN? You can do all those things by coming to see our INCREDIBLE line up of TOP MUSEUM TALENT who will entertain, intrigue and amaze you.

    We’re back at The Black Heart, 3 Greenland Place, NW1 0AP on Monday 2nd December 2013. Doors open at 7pm. Entry is free, but we’ll be collecting on the door for our charity of the month, Arlington Futures, which aims to break the cycle of homelessness by providing training, employment and creative programmes. Your donations will support the art workshop. We suggest a donation of £5.

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

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

    Nicola Scott & Rachel Harrison – 18 postcards, 6 weeks, 33 people… We’ll be talking about our Community Fieldworkers project at the Horniman Museum.

    Subhadra Das – Curator of UCL Pathology Collections, Subhadra will be showing off one of the least show-offable collections in London. She’ll describe how UK law applies to human remains in medical collections, and asking: what does that mean for what you can and cannot see?

    Richard Ashcroft – I want to have a little rant about museums which are all tell and too little show. I want to celebrate the austere and the odd, that challenge and confuse the museum’s audience, rather than welcoming and engaging them.

    Holly Parsons – Holly, a museum studies graduate, talks about her experiences of volunteering in museums and difficulty getting a paid job. Will she get paid museum work in the end?

    Natasha Stephen – How is a comet different from an asteroid and what makes a meteorite a meteorite? Nat Stephen delves into the NHM’s collections to show you something out of this world.

    David Morgan – As an ex-Space Crew member and lover of museums, David’s going to talk about his museum frustrations.

    Chella Quint – Adventures in Menstruating: Chella Quint takes us on a Period Positive journey through the history of feminine hygiene adverts from the 1920s through today using Duke University’s digital collection of historical ads. After 90 years of analysis in only 9 minutes, you’ll never have felt so fresh and dainty in your life.

    Irida Ntalla – who’ll be talking about museums, interactivity and audience participation.

    Gregory Akerman – museums are proper good – but what’s the point in them for us visitors? If it’s to learn from history then how can we be sure that what we are learning is history as oppose to the present day’s version of what history should have been (meaning we’re not actually learning history so much as what history should have been), or if every single thing ever led to this point then wouldn’t we kinda almost innately already know the history of all the stuff so render museums pointless? Watch Gregory tie himself in knots talking about this problem, the theory of things and other concepts he really doesn’t understand. But you know, with jokes.

    Paolo Viscardi – Paolo Viscardi from the Horniman Museum will present an illustrated alphabetical guide to the 21st Century curator. Or – as he calls it – “How I explain my job to relatives at Christmas”.

     

  • Museums Showoff Cambridge – LINE-UP ANNOUNCED

    Hello Cambridge! Are you ready for some top class museum-related entertainment? We’ve lined up some top class museum talent to reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects. Thanks to Cambridge University Museums, we’re coming to a venue near you!

    Museums Showoff, the open mic night for all those who work in and love museums, will be at J3 at Cambridge Junction, Clifton Way, CB1 7GX on Wednesday 30th October. The show starts at 8pm, and the bar will be open beforehand. Entry is free, but we will be collecting on the door for Rowan, which brings artists and people with learning disabilities together in the production of fine artwork and crafts. We suggest a donation of £5.

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

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

    Matt Lowe & Roz Wade – Four Million Specimens and 12 months. From a Finback Whale to Darwin’s Beetles, find out how the University Museum of Zoology is packing its collections in time for a once in a generation redevelopment!

    Josh Newman – Bringing a dull Regency Room to life. Nelson and his boss and mentor Earl St Vincent had dinner at Torre Abbey in 1801. They were friendly on the surface but underneath the resentment seethed. I’ll describe how an unusual digital display illustrates the anger, frustration and overbearing politeness.

    Rosie Amos – Polar Museum Educator Rosie Amos will be talking about how to make concept-heavy subjects like climate change ‘hands-on’ in a museum environment, including; blindfolds, dancing beluga whales and a climate change sing-along!.

    Dan Pemberton – The Collection of Dr John Woodward comprises about 9,400 rocks, minerals, fossils and archaeological artefacts still kept in their original early 18th century collectors cabinets. I will show images of my favourite objects and tell some of the stories behind them and  the people who contributed to Woodward’s collection.

    Anna Mikhaylova – Museums in Russia… it sounds like something about “the Hermitage” and “Pushkin”. However, not! There are more that 2500 museums, and I’ll tell you some myths, facts and legends.

    Matt Smith – I’ll be talking about a piece of World War 2 body armour issued to American Air Force Bomber Crews in Europe. What it was supposed to do, how it was supposed to do it; how the crews really used it and why as an explainer at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, this makes a great object to work with and seems to fascinate the young and old!

    Helen Weinstein – Museum collections beyond the museum walls. I will showcase a walking trails project to bring museum objects to the public by partnering museum curators and volunteers, university researchers and students, to produce history trail apps.

    Alec Morrison – I’ll be showing off about the project I created with volunteers at The Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon to create an exhibition about a map, one of the first in this country, of Huntingdon town centre drawn in 1607 when Oliver Cromwell was still a boy living there. We surveyed the town centre using the same mapping techniques that would have been used to draw the original map

    Liz Davies & Jessica van Bussel – Who needs small independent Museums? A brief, but spirited, exchange of views revealing some little known facts about St Neots from miracles to murder.

     


  • 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.

    It can only be… MUSEUMS MILE SHOWOFF!

    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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Season 2: September 2012-July 2013

  • Museums Showoff 8, Tuesday 25 June – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

    Roll up, roll up. Get your Museums Showoff action here! Let’s face it, you’ve worked hard this year. You need an evening to sit back, relax and hear fascinating tales and intriguing insights from some top class museum talent. And wow, have we got a line up for you!

    Museums Showoff is back on Tuesday 25 June. We’ll be upstairs at The Black Heart, 3 Greenland Place, NW1 0AP. Doors open at 7pm, the show starts at 7.30pm. Entry is free, but we’ll be collecting on the door for our charity of the month KEEN London, which provides free one-to-one sports and recreational opportunities for young people with special needs. We suggest a donation of £5.

    Strutting their stuff in an amazing museum extravaganza will be:

    Steve Cross – your compere for the night. Will he mention the Science Museum? Well, what do you think?

    Finbarr Whooley –The things you learn when working in museums The longer I work in museums the more weird I realise that they are. Underneath a veneer of respectability and order they are truly strange places that employ strange people and attract some even stranger punters. I invite the audience to join me on my journey of discovery into the strange netherworld of the museum; a world of crushing monotony and exotic exuberance.

    Mar Dixon & Samuel Bausson – We will talk about Museomix & how anyone can get involved remixing a museum to create something that is more open, networked and that evolves with its users and visitors.

    Roberta Wedge – The Mysterious Case of the Empty Victorians. What’s the smallest museum you’ve ever been to, and the most unprepared curator you’ve ever met? Shrink the former and multiply the latter, and you’ll have some inkling of what’s coming up: Mary Wollstonecraft, miniaturised.

    We Are Goose – The Hunterian Museum in London is a secret treasure trove of 300 pickled dead things, gathered together by John Hunter – one of the most incredible unsung heroes of surgery. We Are Goose have written a one hour musical comedy about him for the Edinburgh Fringe and want to share their love of his collection.

    Claire Ross – I’ll be discussing the highs and lows from a first time exhibition curator including why you should never work with technology, asbestos, Fleming Valves or industrial measures of jelly beans.

    Stevyn Colgan – I work at an exciting, dynamic museum that doesn’t exist. I’m one of the writers of BBC R4’s Museum of CuriosityQI’s sister show and, in my talk I’m going to reveal some of the more surprising donations we’ve had, how closely we work with real museums, and ask the audience to help us build up our exhibit list for next year.

    Alice Hockey – Takeover Day in Museums – is it safe to hand over control? What happens when we ask young people to run our museums

    Adrian Shaw – I’ll be presenting 9 minutes of surreal, slightly humerous art institution-inspired observations in a light Barnsley accent.

  • Museums Showoff Norwich – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

    Hello Norwich! Are you ready for some top class museum-related entertainment? We’ve lined up the best of Norfolk’s museum talent to reveal behind-the-scenes stories, intriguing insights and amazing projects. Thanks to Museums Norfolk, 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 OPEN Club, 28 Castle Meadow, Norwich NR1 3DS on Thursday 13 June. Doors open at 6.30pm. Book a free ticket via the Eventbrite page. Donations will be requested on the door for OPEN Youth Trust which runs projects to support the education, training and wellbeing of people under 25. We suggest a donation of £5.

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

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

    Basil Abbott – I will describe how commemorating famous people has paid dividends for Diss Museum and won a string of awards.

    Laura Drysdale – Living With Me LIVE: tales of Fred the Head, Barbie and Bertha and sweeping angels’ wings. Women at play with the Sainsbury Centre’s collection.

    Sophie Cabot and Christian Charmley – Sit yourself down and treat yourself to ‘How do I Heritage?’: the existential chaos of two ex-archaeologists thrust into a world of desks, corded telephones and central heating. We’ll introduce you to the exciting world of heritage asset management and outreach, regaling you with tales of homicidal schoolchildren, funding battles and the quest to make Heritage Open Days appeal to absolutely everybody in the world ever.

    Jamie Everitt – Lord Gnome’s guide to funding applications: I’ll be taking a humorous look at applying for funding with the aid of the enigmatic owner of Private Eye magazine, Lord Gnome. Warning! Contains genuine advice.

    Emma Brough & Fiona Ford – The French Connection! Emma Brough and Fiona Ford will show you how NMAS projects are revealing Norfolk’s Norman heritage.

    Ruth Battersby Tooke – I will be reading an embroidered letter from the Workhouse and reflecting on the use of textiles as a therapy.

    Chris Morshead – Museums – a home for social drifters? I will take a look at how museums can be focal points for groups of people and form “family communities” for different types of people who come in search of their past lives.

    Lorna Richardson – A Rummage Through Our Drawers: The University of Cambridge Museum of Zoology will be closing in June for two years for refurbishment. How can we keep you interested in our collections while we are closed, and what kind of objects would you like to see most? I will present a a semi-show-and-tell, looking at some of the objects from the handling collection, how the Museum website currently works and getting audience opinion on what bits of our drawers they’d like to fumble around in?!

    Andy Bennett – Former museum interpreter and now a full time poet, Andy will perform extracts from his epic poem about the history of Norwich Castle, Donjon.

    Marion Catlin and Roxanne Matthews – We’ll be talking about the idea that a city can be viewed as a public museum, curated by its residents and interpreted through local knowledge. We will look at ways of interpreting some of the lesser known stories that every place has, particularly using digital interventions.

     

  • May 14, London gig – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

    Hello London! Recovered from the marathon? Ready to have a sit down, a drink and hear amazing things about museums? We’ve got a fabulous evening lined up for you, with ten top museum people showing off the best bits about their work.

    Museums Showoff is back on Tuesday 14 May. We’ll be at our new home, upstairs at The Black Heart, 3 Greenland Place, NW1 0AP. Doors open at 7pm, the show starts at 7.30pm. Entry is free, but we’ll be collecting on the door for our charity of the month.

    Strutting their stuff on stage, divulging things about museums that you’ve never even thought of, will be:

    Steve Cross – a man whose entire knowledge of museums consists of ways to tease the Science Museum.

    Sharon Ament – Museums: are we just too polite? What Old Flo has to teach us about how standing up for what we believe in creates a wide-reaching resonance.

    Lola Arellano-Weddleton – I’ll be talking about my attempt in 2012 (and again this year) to visit a museum daily, and what I’ve learned through the logistical challenges of becoming a glutton for culture. In particular, I’ll talk about museums in Warsaw, Poland, where I was living last year, on a Fulbright research grant in museum studies.

    Ruth Adams – The Curious Tale of Tipu’s Tiger: Or the story of how a notorious man eating musical instrument was kidnapped from India and brought to London, to be immortalised in poetry, chocolate and cyberspace.

    Adrian Murphy & Vicky Pearce – We will be talking about what it’s like to be the voice of museum on Twitter – the highs, the lows, the fun and games, taking a journey from Macedonian socks to Ethiopian lyres via many, many pangolins. And we’ll try to give you actual, practical top tips if you have to be your museums’ voice but we may just make lots of puns and alliteration.

    Emily Yates – Sherlock Holmes and The Museum Inaccuracy. Sherlock Holmes may be a clever guy, but when running around a museum he does have some odd ideas about how we operate. I have set up my own casebook of investigations into how museums operate in the Holmesian world, and why we may disagree with him.

    Kat Nilsson – Kat expresses her love for science and frustration with the personalities of objects available to tell science stories. When did they become so bland and what on earth can be done about it?

    Rachel Jennings – Museums are a lot like icebergs: what’s on display is just a tiny part of the whole, and what’s hidden is much more interesting! I will take you on a brief tour through the weird and wonderful world of stored collections at the Horniman Museum.

    Meriel Jeater – A little-known part of the Museum of London’s medieval collection is its bawdy badges depicting male and female genitalia, amusing visual puns and mating chickens. Why were these badges made and who wore them? Curator Meriel Jeater explores the sexy side of medieval life and asks whether these badges are as naughty as they might seem to modern eyes.

    Miranda Stearn – What’s all this contemporary art doing in my museum? From Grayson Perry at the British Museum to Mark Wallinger at the National Gallery, recently it’s been hard to escape contemporary interventions in our museums. I’ll be showing off my PhD research musing on why this might be.

    Richard Sandling – Richard Sandling collects Videos. He has so many he would like to turn his house into a VHS museum. Could he? Should he? Can he? How do you even become a museum? Find out tonight!

  • March 6, London gig – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

    Hoorah! It’s nearly spring. The days are longer, there are buds on the trees, birds are singing, I’m sure there will be warm weather, sun and blue skies very soon… We should celebrate! What better way to do that than spend an evening listening to 10 amazing people entertain you with stories and songs about museums?

    Museums Showoff will be at the Wilmington Arms, 69 Rosebery Ave, EC1 on Wednesday March 6th. Doors are at 7pm. Entry is free, but we will be collecting on the door for our charity of the month, Peckham Shed, which runs innovative theatre workshops in a supportive place for 5-17 year olds living in and around SE London. We strongly suggest a donation of £5.

    Strutting their stuff on stage in an extravaganza of behind-the-scenes revelations, wit and wisdom are:

    Steve Cross – Your compère for the evening. Steve tells jokes, eats sweets and wears silly t-shirts, sometimes simultaneously.

    Gemma Holland & Meredith Wood – Join a dynamic duo from the Museum of Brands in Notting Hill for an interactive and explosive show-case of consumer history. Meet items from the collection and hear wondrous facts about the unique and vast treasures on display as well as win free tickets to the Museum. Described by visitors as a “hidden treasure” the team is here to show you that everything has a story waiting to be told.

    Tim Gardom – Take to the streets! The right place for culture is outside a museum. Tim
    Gardom explains, attempting the Pecha Kucha format (20 slides, 20 seconds per
    slide).

    Dan Schreiber – For the last 5 years I’ve been co-running a museum on radio called The Museum Of Curiosity. We have a great collection including the Big Bang when it was the size of a grapefruit, the first story ever told, and Nothing. I’ve recently noticed that other museums have some pretty good stuff too. So I’ve made a list of things I’d like to plunder from them all.

    Tom Miles – I will talk about the project to digitise a representative sample of the Museum of Writing’s collection, introducing objects from the collection and discussing how social media has enabled the collection to be brought to a wider audience.

    Dan Simpson – I’m going to be talking about how videogames are (and are not) represented in museums / galleries, and raising the whole ‘are videogames art?’ type questions. But, you know, in a funny way.

    Anouk Gouvras – I work at the Natural History Museum, one of 300 scientists. I will talk a bit about working at the NHM, some random fun facts, how the NHM became involved in controlling a debilitating parasitic disease in sub-Saharan Africa (Schistosomiasis aka Bilharzia), the Schistosome Collection at the NHM and there may be a very geeky Schisto song at the end.

    Sarah Punshon – Telling lies and resisting dinosaurs; or, what happened when a theatre director was let loose on the Natural History Museum for a year. Complete with pictures of small happy children and a game of Spot the Scientist.

    Jack Ashby – Natural history museums, whilst being awesome, are deeply unrepresentative of nature – it’s often said that 95% of known animal species are smaller than your thumb, but have you noticed how most museums fill their displays with big animals? To right this wrong, the Grant Museum has built The Micrarium – a beautiful back-lit cave displaying 2323 microscope slides containing amazingly prepared miniscule animals – hoping to give some attention to the huge diversity of tiny lives.

    Martin Austwick – Singer-songwriter Martin Austwick has never worked for a museum, although he has been in one, and has played at the British Library (which is like a museum for books) until everyone started shushing him and security arrived. He has songs about old things (well, Gutenberg’s printing press) and dust (well, Brownian Motion) so he imagines he’ll feel right at home at Museum Showoff.

  • Museums Showoff Manchester, 28 Feb – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

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

    Museums Showoff, the open mic night for all those who work in and love museums, will take place in the cafe at Manchester Art Gallery on Thursday 28 February. Doors open at 6.30pm. Book a free ticket via the Eventbrite page. Donations will be requested on the door for 42nd Street, who support the emotional wellbeing of children and young people. We suggest a donation of £5.

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

    Steve Cross – compère and joke teller, Steve likes nothing more than to poke fun at the Science Museum.

    David Carden – I sing banjo and ukulele songs inspired by the 18th and 19th century collections at Manchester Art Gallery.

    Campbell Price – Mummies and Magic. Arguably, Manchester Museum’s most popular attraction is its Egyptian collection – but why do mummies repel us and intrigue us in equal measure? Egyptology curator Campbell Price recounts tales of the weird and the wonderful.

    Jeni McConnell – I’d like to tell you about a group of enthusiastic young people who put together an intriguing evening guided walk with performances that connected objects and stories from Warrington Museum with the histories of the local streets. Their performances and readings captured their audience, linking local places and people and giving a unique view of a familiar place as they launched themselves into The Bright Unknown.

    Gemma Angel – What connects 19th century tattooing, mercury and syphilis? I will explore some surprising links between geology, history of medicine and art through my doctoral work on the Wellcome’s collection of 300 preserved tattooed human skins at the Science Museum.

    David Steele – I will be doing a stand-up comedy presentation on the subject of museums and the people that go to them.

    Paul Cookson – I will do a selection of interactive performance poetry, based on my work at the National Football Museum. Audience participation is non negotiable!

    Catherine O’Donnell – Catherine will be performing a taster of the Little People’s History Museum story Mr Ordinary’s Prize. Join in the adventure and get involved in the puppetry fun!

    Helen Rees Leahy – Why Museums Make you Ill…The contemporary orthodoxy that links museums with happiness and well-being in its various guises overlooks an inconvenient historical truth: museums (can) make you ill. This talk recuperates the forgotten history of museum sickness, so that the next time you feel develop an ‘aesthetic headache’ or feel nauseous after an afternoon in a gallery, you’ll know that you’re in good company.

    Stephen Howe, James Eagleton and Lee Wolstenholme – We are MOSI’s Singing Scientists. We play John Dalton, who developed Atomic theory into a science, Sir Bernard Lovell, famous for his work radio astronomy and the development of Jodrell Bank telescope and William Perkin, who, whilst trying to crack the chemical code of artificial Quinine from coal tar, happened across a way to create cheaper dyes. Three part harmony acapella singing from this trio tells the story of these great scientists’ achievements.

    Ann French – You may think that there is only one way to display a textile, but conservators know different – especially when you’ve got to appease a curator! I’ll be musing on the ways I’ve created textile display systems to express a curator’s exhibition ideas.

  • Museums Showoff 5, Jan 17 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

    Say BOO to the January blues. Forget that it’s cold and dull. Cheer yourself up by watching amazing acts from across the museums world reveal behind-the-scenes stories and incredible projects.

    Museums Showoff 5 will be at the Wilmington Arms, EC1 at 7pm on January 17th. Taking to the stage for this extravaganza of objects and exhibitions are:

    Steve Cross – will be our compère for the night. What will he say about the Science Museum this time?

    Nick Poole – Yes (Culture) Minister:  9 minutes, 10 years, 7 Secretaries of State for Culture Media and Sport. A fast-paced review of the glittering academy of unforgettable stars that have held the Government’s top culture job. What have they done with it? Why did they do it? Where are they now? What does it take to be a Minister for Culture? And which one of them once accused me of something he liked to call ‘unthink’?

    Katherine Curran – “Heritage Smells or The Terrible Fate of Tropical Ken”. Delivered entirely in verse, this will be both a description of my research project and an account of the dreadful things that happened to a Ken doll who found himself in one of UCL’s laboratories.

    Danny Birchall ­– Why wrap the Freud Museum in ropes made of doll’s hair? Danny will present a lightning tour of artists’ interventions in museum spaces, from notorious pisstaker Marcel Duchamp to neo-neuroticist Alice Anderson.

    Alice Bell ­– Why the very idea of a science museum is just plain silly, but if we’re going to have them they should be less like Harrods and more like a junk yard.

    Alison Boyle & Harry Cliff – Higgs bosons, hadrons, high-energy physics … it’s a huge and incredibly complex machine, with lots of people busy doing things that nobody else understands. But that’s enough about the Science Museum. Find out what happened when Harry met Ali and the world of museums collided with the world of CERN.

    Researchers in Museums – Gemma Angel, Sarah Chaney, Suzanne Harvey, Felicity Winkley, Lisa Plotkin, Tzu-i Liao and Alicia Thornton are a UCL-based gestalt entity whose mission is to engage the public with their research and UCL’s museum collections in ways never before explored. Bringing together their expertise in diverse subject areas, the team presents “Foreign Bodies” – their very first interdisciplinary group-curated exhibition, which opens in February 2013 at UCL.

    Peter Ride – #Citizencurators was a twitter project that ran during the 2012 Olympics organised by Museum of London and Univ of Westminster. It’s goal was to collect Londoners response to living in London during the games – a social history for the museum collection. But it also also asked the question how can a museum collect tweets – as database, a visual object or a string of individual lines?

    Hayley Kruger – is going to talk about some of the stranger steps on the path that paved the way to modern blood donation and provides a salutary warning of why it is unwise to be related to an anatomist and predecease them…!

    The Ministry of Curiosity – will be recruiting for the newly founded collective dedicated to London’s museum social scene.

    Jason Webber – Come the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse, which Museum will give you the best chance of survival? Who has the collection and venue to hold off the slaving hordes of the un-dead?

    Entry is free, but we will be collecting on the door for our charity of the month, which is 1A Arts Association, a community initiative helping people develop skills through arts projects. We strongly suggest a donation of £5.

  • Welcome to Museums Showoff

    Hello! Welcome to the brand new Museums Showoff blog. For the last six months we’ve been sharing space on the Science Showoff blog, but now we’ve got our own home. Look here to find out everything about our gigs – announcements of new dates, how to sign up, line ups for the next gigs, and more.

    If you want to find out who’s already strutted their stuff for us, and how they did it, read the posts below, which have been reblogged from Science Showoff.

    If you’re wondering what on earth Museums Showoff is all about, click on the What is Museums Showoff tab at the top.

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