This weekend: Museums at Night

Venues across the country will be open after hours in a celebration of history and heritage.

Readers with an evening spare this weekend would do well to visit one of the 300 museums and galleries participating in this year's Museums at Night scheme, an annual UK-wide celebration of all things cultural.

Introduced after the success of the Paris-conceived Nuit européenne des musées -- now in its sixth year -- the UK scheme will run from 14 to 16 May and includes tours, talks and workshop events at heritage sites throughout the country.

London highlights include a screening of Alfred Hitchcock films at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a curator-led tour of the London Transport Museum and a class on stitching at the the Royal College of Surgeons' Hunterian Museum, taught by practising surgeons.

Elsewhere, the Eden Project in Cornwall will host a night of sound installation, storytelling and musical performance inside its artificial biomes. In Norwich, a torchlit tour of the cathedral will take place, and a "silent disco" (dancing with headphones on) will be held at Tate Liverpool.

A full listing of events can be found on the culture24 website.

Photo: Getty
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Moss Side Public Laundry, 1979

A new poem by Pippa Little.

Childless I arrive with a rucksack,
own no Silver Cross steered topple-high
by the bare-legged women in check coats
and bulging shoes who load and unload
ropes of wet sheets, wring them out
to rams’ horns while heat-slap of steam
dries to tinsel in our hair, frizzles our lips
gritty with Daz sherbert dabs and the mangle,
wide as a room-size remnant, never stops groaning
one slip and you’re done for…

In the boom and echo of it, their calls swoop
over Cross-your-Hearts, Man. City socks,
crimplene pinks and snagged underskirts,
Maggie Maggie Maggie Out Out Out! blasts
from across the park, whole streets
get knocked out like teeth,
in a back alley on the way a man
jumped me, shocked as I was
by the fuck off! I didn’t know was in me

but which I try out now to make them laugh, these women
who scrub blood and beer and come
with red-brick soap, quick-starch a party dress
while dryers flop and roar
before their kids fly out of school,
flock outside for a smoke’s sweet rest
from the future bearing down of four walls and one man.

Pippa Little’s collection Overwintering (Carcanet) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Award. Her new book, Twist, was published in March by Arc. 

This article first appeared in the 20 July 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The new world disorder