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8 Posts tagged with the nights_at_the_museum tag

So summer’s definitely over, but autumn brings with it our spectacular Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.


This Friday 26 October's Lates with MasterCard is the first late opening of the exhibition and what an exhibition it is! If you haven’t had a peek at the line-up of winning images, you can do so on our online gallery but there’s nothing quite like seeing the full show so make sure you get your tickets early for this Friday if you’re planning on coming along.



Paul Nicklen's Bubble-jetting emperors is the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner. Get up close to this and 99 other prize-winning photographs in the exhibition open late on Friday evening.


This month we’re bringing back our increasingly popular Open-mic in the Central Hall and we’ve got 11 awesome performers. They’ll be playing from 7pm until 10.30pm and we’ve got a fantastic mix of artists. With everything from country to rock and pop it’s bound to be a great night. Get a taste of one of the performers, Marie Naffah, in this video, and see some of the other performers' videos at the end of this blog.



This month we also have some really exciting activities going on at Lates. Join our discussion event exploring the pitfalls and possibilities of a manned mission to Mars in our unique event, Should We Go To Mars? This event is ticketed and you need to book online in advance.


Our amazing half-term Campsite event will be opening an evening early for a special preview. With film screenings in campervans, human-sized cabinets where you can label yourself a specimen and a real polar tent in the mix, you can have yourself an indoor-outdoor adventure in the Darwin Centre. The Campsite will be open from 7pm – 9.30pm.


Get a taste of the Campsite mobile festival of campervans, caravans and pop-up tents, arriving here on Friday evening. Right, join the crazy artists for some entertaining speed-sketching.

We’re also saying bonsoir to our Crazy Artists who are back and crazier than ever with a night of speed-sketching that will knock your socks off.  Can you sketch a squirrel in 10 minutes? Or draw a dinosaur? Or paint a porpoise? The Artists are here to put your skills to the test. Every 15 minutes between 19.00 and 21.00 the artists will bring out a specimen from the Museum’s collections. You’ll have 10 minutes to draw it before they cast their expert eyes over your work and choose a winner to take home a Natural History Museum prize.


If all that wasn’t enough, we’re opening the Dinosaur gallery, and you can get into the Halloween spirit in the Creepy Crawlies gallery, which is open for the the first time ever at Lates,



Satisfy your curiosity about locusts (above), ants, butterflies, crabs, spiders, termites and 1000s of their relatives in the Green Zone's Creepy Crawlies gallery.


And with all that going on you’re bound to be peckish, so why not warm up with our tasty new pop-up restaurant menu? Featuring venison and wild boar stew, dumplings and mashed potato, you won’t be hungry for long.


So it looks like this is going to be one of our busiest Lates ever and I hope you all enjoy it. As always, if you do come along, please let us know what you think on the night or you can email the team at


Andy Glynn

Visitor Events Manager

Open-mic performers at this month's Lates


Calvin Roche performs a variety of sounds from upbeat to chilled acoustic featuring amazing bass and vocals.


Clinton Tavares is a singer/songwriter from Watford that is currently playing open mics all across London.




Daniel Corsini plays acoustic folk with influences from Ray Davies to Kenny Rogers, to cups of tea, to sleeping in the sun.




Glen Kirkham is a star in waiting. His unique high-note harmonies and distinctive acoustic guitar playing produce a stunning synergy of blues and rock/pop.




Icicle Tree are an established folk fusion band from Surrey that plays memorable songs with distinctive melodies, creative arrangements and a truly identifiable style.




Jakob Deist, originally from South Africa but now based in Essex, is an amazing acoustic performer who blends a mix of pop, blues, rock and indie sounds. His new album, The Owl and the Crow, is out soon.




Kaitlyn Haggis, our youngest open-mic performer to date, is a teenage singer/songwriter from North London. She’s been developing her own material over the last 12 months and is currently recording her first EP.




Lucie Zara is a singer/songwriter from Devon. Her music has been described as a fusion of folk guitar, quirky lyrics and soulful vocals.


Marie Naffah is bound for big things, according to Love Music Love Life Magazine, who say: “With features on Balcony TV, Absolute Radio, XFM and her track about a girl who has lost her sight featured as top video of the week on NME breakthrough, this is just the beginning for the 20-year-old. You can expect to hear a lot more as she is set to record her new EP over the next few months.”


Paul Howley
Original soulful folk, big poppy choruses and some of the smartest lyrics in town.


The Frisbys
Often compared to the likes of Fleetwood Mac, the Frisbys write memorable folk/pop songs. Expect delicate folk textures and soaring harmonies from this four-piece.



This month's Lates blog is from guest Andy Glynn, our Visitor Events Manager:


'Summer is almost upon us – hopefully! To celebrate the season, we’ve got some really special activity lined up for this month’s Lates with MasterCard on 29 June.


Perhaps the most exciting new element of Lates is our entertainment. We’ve got hilarious free stand-up with award-winning comedian Tom Allen in our new Darwin Centre Café. He’ll be starting at 19.00 and splitting sides until 19.40.


June Lates specials: Comedian Tom Allen in our Darwin Centre Cafe; Open-mic sessions in the Central Hall will come from Sid Batham, Meg Cavanaugh, Felix Fables members Mike and James, and another 7 artists (left to right). Select images to enlarge

And there’s more. This month we’re hosting our first Open-mic acoustic sessions in the Central Hall. We asked singer-songwriters from all over the UK to send us links to their YouTube videos and Facebook profiles and the competition was tough. Over 100 musicians submitted their tracks and we watched and listened to them all. With everything from experimental soundscaping to heavy rock, there was a broad selection.


After much deliberation (and more time on YouTube than is healthy) we narrowed it down to our favourite ten for this month. They are: Sid Batham, Meg Cavanaugh, Felix Fables, Ciah, The Folk, Kitty Ward, Sherika Sherard, Jake Manning, Dayle Clarke and Treana Morris. Here's a taste of what to expect from Meg and we'll be posting a few more samples from other artists next week:



But Open-mic isn’t our only new addition to Lates this month. In the Central Hall we’ve revamped our menu to offer some of the best of British food and drink. While listening to our awesome music line-up you’ll be able to tuck into a platter of fine British cheese and sample some independent label British sparkling wine, Kentish cider and Camden lager from the bar.




We’re still hoping that the sunshine’s just around the corner so we’ll also be opening our beautiful Darwin Centre Courtyard for the occasion, giving you the opportunity to relax in style and enjoy Pimms on the lawn.


And if all that wasn’t enough, you’ll definitely want to pop in and see our incredible special exhibitions, both open for the evening.


Animal Inside Out (pictured above) is proving to be one of our most popular exhibitions ever and it’s easy to see why. With 90 plastinated animals, it’s an anatomical safari that’s definitely not to be missed. You can buy tickets on the night but you might want to book in advance to secure your spot.


And if inside out animals aren’t your cup of tea, you could visit our Scott’s Last Expedition exhibition, (above right) which charts the incredible journey of Captain Scott’s Terra Nova expedition. Tickets for both exhibitions are available here.


So, a hundred YouTube videos later, I’m hoping you’ll find this month’s Lates to be a totally unique experience. After all, where else in London can you see an inside out elephant, Captain Scott’s diaries, free stand-up comedy and incredible live music, all in one night?


Singer Meg summed it up nicely for us, saying ‘There’s no better place to rock with the dinosaurs!’


Find out more about our Friday Lates


‘Hot time, summer in the city…’ It certainly is getting hotter than a match-head, which is fantastic news for our last summer late opening this season.


Cool and hot stuff at After Hours tonight, 30 September. Pimms and Sexual Nature exhibition's Isabella Rossellin'e Green Porno films - it's the last chance to enjoy Sexual Nature before it closes this weekend.

Our Sexual Nature exhibition closes on 2 October, so try and catch it at September's After Hours.


I thought I’d pay the exhibition a farewell visit myself today. On the way I bumped into Dave Nevin, our Visitor Experience Manager, and two of our Visit Planners.


The Visit Planners, resplendent in black and red Sexual Nature t-shirts, told me that some of our overseas visitors. unfamiliar with the euphemism ‘Ask me about the birds and the bees’ emblazoned on the back of the t-shirts, ask them to tell them about birds and bees in the zoological rather than metaphorical sense. They also said that visitors often ask them exactly what it is the female orang-utan does with the piece of bark. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to get the Visit Planners to tell me what their response was. They did tell me that visitors really enjoy the exhibition and will come out wowed at the new things they’ve just seen. Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno videos (above) are particularly popular.



Dave told me that some of our visitors have been picking up some useful chat-up lines from the interactive writing wall at the end of the exhibition, and he took me down to have a look at it.  The wall has a fascinating array of visitor messages: touching, humorous and graphic, and ranging from the American mother who wrote how happy she was she’d given birth, to the prosaic but very funny ‘Your ass is like a basketball ...’ comment.  I probably won’t be using that line myself.


Perhaps that came from someone who should aim to sign off summer in style with our Ultimate Attraction Masterclass, where you can learn to recognise signals and scents in the romancing game. We have a social anthropologist/flirting expert and a perfume expert on hand to guide you through flirting signals and how to use perfume to lure in a mate.


I also popped over to the Darwin Centre Atrium and Courtyard Terrace (right), which will of course be open for Friday’s After Hours. The Courtyard was bathed in brilliant sunshine, birds were singing in the trees, the sky was azure, and the Wildlife Garden formed a pretty glade behind.  It has a very relaxed vibe to it and if I didn’t have to do some work I’d be out there still, building up my tan. Come tonight though, it will be a great place to enjoy some late summer food, a Pimms or a cold beer from our Darwin Centre bar.



Right beside the Darwin Centre bar you will find a beautiful installation that came here as part of the London Design Festival – the Unnatural Selection by Raw Edges and Oscar Narud (left, image by Susan Smart) .This intriguing and engaging animation on used computer monitors mixes up species and specimens in an 'unnatural' way. It is inspired by the Natural History Museum's collections and is presented in Museum-style cabinets (sponsored by Bloomberg). When it gets dark, the illumination becomes especially vivid.


Tonight is also the start of something very special for After Hours, for we are very pleased to announce the beginning of a three year partnership with MasterCard who will be sponsoring the Museum’s evening events: After Hours with MasterCard and MasterCard Night Safari.


MasterCard will be working with the museum to create a range of exciting offers and events for all MasterCard cardholders as part of their Priceless London programme - check the website for more information.


Also look out for the @NHM_London Twitter feed and the Museum’s Facebook page and keep an eye out for our After Hours with MasterCard web page for updates on October's late night highlights.


‘It’ll probably be summer at Christmas,’ the cashier in my bank told me earlier this week as we bonded over the unseasonable weather beleaguering us and the rainstorm breaking over South Kensington. Let's hope it changes for our next After Hours evening on Friday 29 July.



It was pretty unseasonable at June’s After Hours, although it must be said that suited me pretty well as it avoided After Hours visitors dining out on the Darwin Centre Courtyard terrace amongst swathes of  Heras fencing. The fencing was there to protect the building site where  the new Tsunami Memorial was due to be erected that weekend.


If it is fine, do take a look at the Memorial, which opened to the public on 6 July following a special commemorative service. It has a powerful presence on the far side of the Courtyard Terrace, and if you go near, you will be able to read the names of those it commemorates.



The Memorial (left) offers a stark reminder of the powerful forces of nature by which all our lives are governed, even if we normally live in an urban environment such as London, generally protected from the elements. The Museum itself lost some local staff in Thailand, who were working at a scientific research station when the tsunami hit.


On to happier subjects. Like the lady who rode a white horse to Banbury Cross, After Hours visitors will have music wherever they go on Friday, for we have jazz in the Darwin Centre atrium (pictured right), Latin-American music courtesy of Columbian master Ricardo Curbelo (pictured below left) in the Central Hall and classic love songs care of our roving rock troubadour, Sebastian Darcy-Heathcliff, who will be loitering with intent outside the Sexual Nature exhibition again, ready to serenade our visitors.


ricardo_image-590.jpgI am humming to very little musical effect Bryan Adam’s (Everything I Do) I Do It for You as I type this, which I realise might be a hangover from June After Hours, where I caught Mr Darcy-Heathcliff giving a very impressive rendition of this to a group of young Japanese ladies, who ran away giggling down Dinosaur Way when Mr Darcy-H came close, smouldering like Lord Byron on Bonfire Night. Why not treat yourself to a personal serenade before you visit the Sexual Nature exhibition?



Incidentally, actress and film director Isabella Rossellini (right) was in the Sexual Nature exhibition last week. But dressed as herself not as an animal making love as she appears in her Green Porno films, which are one of the highlights in the exhibition.


If dinosaurs are more your thing, then our Age of the Dinosaur exhibition is open late once more. You are also free to wander up to our fascinating Minerals gallery and view the dazzling Vault where some of the world’s most iconic gems are on display; stroll around the Cocoon prior to relaxing over a glass of wine or champagne, a beer or a Pimms at the bar down in the Darwin Centre atrium (or outside on the Courtyard Terrace, if fingers crossed, it is sunny).


Don’t forget to pre-order your Mini picnic if you’d like to eat as well. We also have the Big Nature Quiz in the Restaurant where there are some great prizes on offer for the winning team.


‘Late night is the great night’ as one of our After Hours visitors so kindly and poetically put it recently, and we would be very happy if you could join us!


Baby it’s cold outside, but there is a warm glow in my heart because I’ve just been around the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. 

The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition opened to the public last Friday, 22 October. And the exhibition is certainly looking grand from the entrance this year. The arrival area has been opened up and there is a clear view to a vista of photographs, glowing like jewels in the gallery.

Andrew Parkinson's 'The drop', Animals in their Environment - highly commended

There are beautiful, memorable and skilfully-executed photographs in the exhibition, but for my money none so memorable as the One Earth category award winner, taken by Spanish photographer Jordi Chias Pujol, entitled ‘Turtle in Trouble’. 

Sailing between Barcelona and the Balearics, Mr Pujol was hoping to photograph dolphins, but instead, spotting an abandoned net drifting along, he dived down, and found a loggerhead sea turtle trapped in the net.  Mr Pujol notes ‘the poor creature must have been trapped for some days so knotted up was it…I felt as though it were looking at me for help as it tried to bite through the netting’.

The photograph shows the turtle, head on to the camera, flippers outstretched through the tangled blue shroud of fishing net.  And there is something about the way it is loosely holding a small length of the net in its mouth, fathomless dark eyes looking at the photographer that is really quite upsetting. It is only when I went down to the exhibition and read the commentary that I found the story had a happy ending.  I will leave to you to find out what that was.

I could only approach that stretch of the exhibition, the One Earth Award category tentatively. You will see some extraordinary photographs there. And in the new Wildlife Photojournalist category.

But I also laughed at the photographs of bird bottoms – the bottom of a fulmar launching off high sea cliffs in the Shetlands; the bottom of a mute swan on the Rhine seen from beneath; the bottom of an Arctic tern flying in to feed its chicks in Iceland.


There is something about these bottoms that warmed the cockles of my heart!

Johan Gehrisch's 'Chick delight', 15-17 years Young award, highly commended

Anyway, After Hours kicks off again this Friday night, and you can experience all this and more for yourself. There is also the opportunity to take part in an exciting new series of biodiversity-focused discussion events in our Restaurant, ‘Biodiversity: the Next Step’ is the first one of these Discussing Nature events, with some great guest speakers. 

We will be rolling out a new ‘dining around Dippy’ experience, in addition to the normal set up in the Central Hall Blue Bar. So do come and join us for a meal, a drink, an exploration of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer or the Darwin Centre. Or to take part in a vital discussion on the future of global diversity.

And take away a new view on the world. From the bottom up.


Our winter After Hours begin on 29 October, but first, on Friday 24 September we are throwing open our doors until 22.00 for After Hours: Science Uncovered.


Don't miss our biggest-ever after hours event on Friday 24 September as we join a Europe-wide festival

All across Europe, in over 200 cities, final preparations to kindred events that take place on that night are being made and harrowed-looking event managers (if we are anything to go by) will be crossing their fingers that all will go well.

Stephen Roberts, our Nature Live Manager, who with his colleague Ivvet Modinou, has worked extremely hard on the event (along with the rest of the project team), and was responsible for bringing it to the Museum in the first place, says that London needs an event like this and the Museum must be the best place for it.


‘Over 4 million people come to the Museum every year and we have over 300 science staff but, until the opening of the Darwin Centre last year, relatively few of them get to see our scientists, let alone chat.



'After Hours: Science Uncovered changes the balance when an astonishing 60 of our own scientists as well as others from across London have pulled out all the stops to join in a European festival of science called Researchers' Night. We have watched with interest as this initiative, now involving over  500,000 members of the public in Europe, has grown and this year we have thrown ourselves in lock, stock and barrel.'


At our event there are over 50 different activities going on, ranging from 30 minute tours and Nature Live events in the Attenborough Studio to our Natural History Roadshow and science stations covering an astounding breadth of our science and collections that you can pop by for a few moments. In The Science Bar you can discuss the hot science of the day, from climate change to life on Mars and everything inbetween or, if you like, just kick back and enjoy a drink and soak up the atmosphere.’


Jon Ablett, pictured left, is one of the several zoologists you can meet on the night. He'll be introducing us to The Giant Squid in his Nature Live talk.


You can also enjoy a glass of champagne or wine in our Red Bar in Fossil Way, and if you have an interesting specimen, or a story related to the natural world, you can go along to the Hendrick's Bar of Curious Concoctions in the Darwin Centre, and get a free gin and tonic!


I also wanted to get a quote from my boss, the Director of Public Engagement, Sharon Ament, about what After Hours: Science Uncovered means to her. As things have been so madly busy here with the event, I ended up having to trail her with a notebook down in the lift as she left for the day. Here's what she said:


‘It’s fun, it’s insightful, it’s never been done before. Science is international, and this shows the effort that goes into high quality science in the European Union. After Hours: Science Uncovered will be exciting for everyone taking part in it, our scientists and our visitors. There is nothing like getting up close with science, and this is a brilliant opportunity to do just that.  It is great that we are participating in a Europe-wide event.  Imagine how across Europe, scientists will be engaging with over half a million people on the same night – it has been a fantastic opportunity for us to take part in this’.

It really has been a fantastic opportunity working on this After Hours, and we are looking forward to a feast of science and great craic with our visitors, as the Irish say.

I went to a seminar today when one of our research scientists, Dr Greg Edgecombe, talked with us about his field work in Greenland on Micrognathozoa. I am no scientist, and this was an area of science utterly unknown to me. But it was truly fascinating to learn something perfectly new – and I hope that those of you who come to After Hours: Science Uncovered, will experience something similar.



Join our NaturePlus Science Uncovered community to follow more of the hot science discussions and read the latest blogs.


Find out more about the night's activities and scientists in our What's on blog



Late-night visitors wowed by the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition

We had the biggest turn-out for Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year at After Hours so far this season on 29 January, and as many people went to visit the Darwin Centre on the night. All of which was great to see.


after-hours-renouf-talk-as.jpgAt his sell-out event in the Darwin Centre's Attenborough Studio (left), Jonathan Renouf, series producer of BBC Two's illuminating How the Earth Made Us gave us a diverting account of the making of the 5-episode series. It's about how our human history has been shaped and developed by the planet’s elementary forces.


The footage Jonathan showed included arresting film from the ‘Fire’ episode with the likeable and enthusiastic presenter, geologist Iain Stewart, in a special fire-proof suit walking through a wall of orange fire. Jonathan told us how, out of shot, a horde of firemen and fire equipment stood ready to douse Iain as he walked through the flames - it being particularly dangerous if he fell over. His fire-protective suit was so heavy, he’d have been unable to right himself. Other fascinating shots were those from ‘Wind’ taken from the peak of Mt Connor in central Australia, which pulled right up to the atmosphere to show the immense wind forces that circulate the mountain. He also told his fascinated audience how a succession of shots were taken by helicopter and then stitched in with satellite images. And how, if you looked very carefully, you could see the join! I’ve looked several times at these shots on BBC iplayer and I still can’t see it. The film clips worked brilliantly in the studio as they are so immersive. Jonathan also brought along a nice surprise for us - some very amusing outtakes from the series, which the audience loved.


affer-hours-climatecchange-wall-600.jpgOther Darwin Centre hotspots included the Climate Change Wall (right) just outside the Attenborough Studio. And up in Cocoon, another great communicator, our entertaining curator of arachnids, Jan Beccaloni, attracted quite a crowd in front of the glass-fronted specimen preparation area. It was great to see people engaging so enthusiastically with science on a Friday night out. Showing the public our behind-the-scenes science is of course one of the driving factors behind the Darwin Centre, but that people are doing this as an evening-out experience is really fantastic.


Explaining that she was behind glass because of pest control requirements, Jan was working on British arachnid specimens destined for the new Angela Marmont Centre. She had, as promised, also brought along an example of the world’s biggest spider, as well as a black widow and a scorpion. ‘I feel I may have erred in not pointing out these are not British,’ said Jan jocularly, as her audience measured up mentally the goliath bird-eating tarantula in the large specimen jar beside her.

There are only two more late openings of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year this season on 26 February and 26 March. So do book your tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment if you want to see this year’s competition winners after hours.



Central Hall, the place to meet at After Hours, where you can enjoy music, tapas and cocktails


The first After Hours event this year took place on Friday 30 October. For the uninitiated, After Hours is our season of Museum lates when we open the doors until 22.30 every last Friday of the month, except for December. This year it goes on until 26 March 2010. Have a look at the After Hours web pages to find out what's on offer.


A glass of champagne in the Red Bar


This year is the 5th season of late night openings of the Museum. As well as giving you a great Friday night out at our extremely popular Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition,this year we also have a bar open in our new Darwin Centre and some special events planned there in the Attenborough Studio.


I'm the After Hours project manager and over the season I hope to bring you regular updates. In this blog I will be giving you a behind-the-scenes look at our winter lates and news on our planned summer late openings.


We started After Hours in the winter of 2005. Our intention was to give people who couldn't come to the Museum in the day or at weekends the chance to come and see our Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in the evening. Back in 2005 I was thrilled when our Head of Business asked me to set up the After Hours project. My enthusiasm, however, might have been tempered had I realised just what I was taking on!


Only 150 people turned up at the first After Hours event, much to our horror. But things have progressed nicely over the years and we almost always sell out. It is a great project to be working on and I have a fantastic project team behind me.


Relaxing in the Central Hall Blue Bar


This year, the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition has a great new home in our Waterhouse Gallery. As well as the Red Bar in Fossil Way near the exhibition gallery and the Central Hall Blue Bar which serves tapas-style food with drinks, there's a new bar in the Darwin Centre which we hope you'll stop by at - before or after you experience Cocoon.


Our shop will also be open, where you're sure to find some unique Christmas presents.

Laura Harmour

Laura Harmour

Member since: Nov 18, 2009

Find out what will be happening at Lates - the late night opening of the Museum on the last Friday of (almost) every month.

View Laura Harmour's profile