All major art capitals in the world organize a “Museum Night” at least once a year. This kind of event aims to promote the arts and cultural life in big cities. More on art and culture.
But what happens during such a unique event? The museums open their doors and stay open all night or into the wee hours of the morning. Admission is free, and even when there is a charge, it usually includes great benefits such as free public transportation and substantial discounts in hotels and restaurants. Do not anticipate an idle evening: the Museums Nights are unforgettable sojourns with art as the main attraction.
All kinds of activities are programmed for these events, from special exhibitions, concerts and recitals to lectures and workshops. The options are varied, depending on the individual’s interests. In addition, there are cities where visitors are offered “evening excursions” that include visits to several museums.
About 35,000 museums in 143 countries worldwide organize the International Museum Day, which since 1977 is celebrated around the 18th of May. However, the Museums Night does not necessarily coincide in every city because they are usually independent celebrations.
Enthusiasm and anticipation for these events continue to grow. In France, last year, more than two million people took part in the festivities. This year, more than 70 cultural centers in the metropolitan area of Barcelona opened their doors the night of May 17. The same happened in other European cities, such as Madrid and Cartagena. Meanwhile, The UK celebrated what they have dubbed the Festival of the Museums Night, a three-day long gala that features over 700 evening events of music, dance and comedy in theaters, museums and galleries. In Latin America, Guatemala City devoted the evening of May 24 to this cultural celebration, and Buenos Aires will do so on November 8th with the participation of more than 190 museums.
On May 3, Düsseldorf, Germany— one of the most important centers of European art— celebrated its fourteenth Museums Night. This year it coincided with the Quadrennial, a large arts festival organized by the city every four years with attendance from thousands of visitors. On this occasion, over 40 museums and galleries opened their doors until 2am.
Düsseldorf`s program included art shows, performances, live music and the presentation of sacred music choirs at the St. Lambertus Basilica. Among other important events stood out workshops for Japanese graphic art at the Hetjens-Museum, a crash course in cinematography at the Film Museum Düsseldorf and the representation of a Shakespeare play at the Theater Museum.
For the public, one of the most powerful experiences would be to watch the artists during the creation process; for the artists, the privilege would be to have their own workshop within the museum, at least for a few hours. And that is just what usually happens during these unique evenings. Definitely, the Museums Night is a magical time that offers extraordinary experiences. ■