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 18, May 12 – SIGN UP

Hooray! It’s spring! There are flowers! It’s not dark when I leave work! And best of all…


We’ll be back at the Slaughtered Lamb on Tuesday May 12. We’re looking for designers, curators, museum shop assistants, conservators, trustees, directors, volunteers, funders, visitors services assistants, academics…or anyone else with tales to tell about museums. You can show off a great project, give us the low-down on what you do, tell us about something you’ve seen or give us a new perspective…whatever you’ve got, as long as it’s about museums. And you can tell us in any way you like – talks, song, poetry, jokes, interpretive dance are all welcome!

If you’d like 9 minutes to tell us something about museums, 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 17, March 24 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Museums Showoff Wakefield, 16 April 2015 – SIGN UP!

Hello Wakefield! Hello the rest of Yorkshire!

Do you love museums?

Have you got something to say about them?

Do you want tell a lovely audience that also thinks museums are ace?

How about over a drink one evening?

Amazing! We’ve got news for you!

Museums Showoff, the cabaret-style night for all those who work in and love museums, is coming to Wakefield! We’ve teamed up with Hepworth Wakefield and The Art House for some top class museum-related entertainment at the Hepworth on Thursday 16 April. We want to hear all your museum-related stories, behind-the-scenes gossip, amazing projects and intriguing insights. 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.

We’re looking for curators, explainers, conservators, trustees, directors, designers, volunteers, critics, visitors services assistants, visitors, funders, academics, cleaners, security guards…or anyone else with something to show off about museums.

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:


Museums Showoff 16, Feb 3 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED

Hello London!

Do you like museums?

Do you like fun?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get your tickets to see them:

Museums Showoff 16, Feb 3 – SIGN UP


It’s time for more exciting and fun museum-y things!

Do have something to say about museums? Want to talk / sing / dance / tell jokes / recite poetry about it? Then you’re our kind of person!

Museums Showoff, the cabaret-style event for all those who love museums, will be back on 3 February 2015 at The Slaughtered Lamb34-35 Great Sutton Street, EC1V 0DX. We’re looking for curators, explainers, conservators, trustees, directors, designers, volunteers, critics, visitors services assistants, shop assistants, security staff, funders, academics…or anyone else with something to show off about museums.

If you haven’t performed for us in the last 12 months and you’d like 9 minutes to show off anything about museums in any way you’d like, sign up to strut your stuff on stage here:

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

Museums Showoff 15, Dec 2 – LINE UP ANNOUNCED


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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