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


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!

Museums Showoff, Cambridge 2 – November 4

Hello Cambridge! We know you LOVE museums. In fact, you’re CURATING THE WHOLE CITY. And guess what, we’re part of it!

Museums Showoff will be at the Portland Arms on Tuesday 4 November as part of Curating Cambridge. Come and tell us amazing things about museums in and around the city!

We’re looking for curators, explainers, conservators, trustees, directors, designers, volunteers, critics, visitors services assistants, visitors, funders, academics…or anyone else with something to show off about museums. You could tell us about a project, something you’ve seen, your plans for museum world domination… or anything else to do with museums. You can talk about it, sing about it, do a dance or put on a play. Just as long as it’s 9 minutes or less.

If you would like 9 minutes to tell us anything about museums in any way you like, sign up here:

If you’re wondering what this Showoff malarkey is all about, and whether you should take part, look here:

This gig is supported by University of Cambridge Museums, using funding from Arts Council England.

Museums Showoff 14, London, Sept 30 – SIGN UP!



After a relaxing break from our storming mega gig at the Bloomsbury Theatre, it’s time to get the new season of museum-related fun, intrigue and insights underway. We’ve got a load of exciting gigs to announce in the coming weeks.

To get things started we’ll be back at our London home, the Slaughtered Lamb, on Tuesday 30 September. We’re looking for anyone with tales to tell about museums – fundraisers, retail people, volunteers and security folk as well as curators, funders, academics, visitor services assistants… or anyone else who fancies 9 minutes to show off about museums in anyway they like.

If that sounds like you, and you haven’t performed for us since September 2013, sign up here:

If you’re wondering what this showing off malarkey is all about, and whether you should join in, read this:

Museums Showoff 13 – SIGN UP!

Hot on the heels of our AMAZING gig at the Bloomsbury Theatre it’s time for MORE SHOWING OFF!

Museums Showoff will be back at the Slaughtered Lamb on Wednesday 9 July. We’re looking for designers, curators, manufacturers, explainers, conservators, trustees, directors, volunteers, critics, visitors services assistants, visitors, funders, academics…or anyone else with tales to tell about museums. If you’d like 9 minutes to show off about museums in any way you like, sign up here:

Please do not sign up if you’ve performed for us in the last 12 months.

If you’re wondering what this showing off malarkey is all about, and whether you should join in, read this:

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


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.