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Thousands of museums open their doors at night for European Night of Museums - May 14

Louvre Museum, Paris
Louvre Museum, Paris   -   Copyright  Image by Edi Nugraha via Pixabay
By Amarachi Orie

European Night of Museums is an occasion in which thousands of museums in dozens of countries across Europe open their doors free of charge in the evening and into the night, offering various activities and special exhibitions.

France’s Ministry of Culture and Communication has organised the event since 2005 with participating museums from 39 member countries of the Council of Europe.

On showcase during this year’s 18th edition will be an array of permanent collections and temporary exhibitions to discover.

What can I expect to see?

You can expect immersive installations, mixed reality exhibitions, drones, data sculptures, candles, lights, NFT workshops and an outpour of culture. 

Les Abattoirs in Toulouse, France, will have 150 drones, piloted by three collectives of augmented music composers, sing the 5th symphony of Beethoven during an open-air concert. 

At the Druskininkai City Museum and Gallery in Lithuania, you are invited to try the art of drawing on water.

Hertford Museum in the UK will open its garden for visitors to enjoy an “eclectic” range of European sounds. 

Meanwhile, in Serbia, the Musée national de Kraljevo will be putting on “The Night of Vinyl 33,” in which visitors will be taken through the history of records.

Alternatively, you can learn all about bats in a temporary exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia, Bulgaria.

When will it start?

You need to contact your local museum to find out its opening hours. Many museums will be opening their doors from 18:00 on Saturday, May 14 until late. 

Some such as Paris’ Musée National des Arts Asiatiques – Guimet, whose programme includes a musical story for families and children, will be starting as early as 16:30, whereas others, such as the Museu de Prehistòria de València, which is offering guided tours will open from 21:00.

How many museums can I go to?

As many as is physically possible in one evening. Nearly 1,300 museums are participating throughout France and more than 3,000 across Europe.

How many people tend to take part?

Museums welcome around 2 million visitors per edition, according to the organisers.

In 2019, the Louvre in Paris opened its doors to 16,000 visitors, and the Musée des Confluences in Lyon to 7,000.

Can I take part virtually?

In 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Night of Museums was fully digital, some aspects of that remain this year. 

Some events and collections will be made available in the specially curated “metaverse” designed for the occasion. A drone performance, for example, will be broadcasted live, which can be accessed through your mobile phone.

You can keep up to date with what is happening during the night on social media, under the hashtag #NuitDesMuséesChezNous.

Find the full programme of participating museums and exhibitions on the event website.