These days they aim to be entertaining, interactive and stimulating and, above all else, they want you to come back time and time again.
If museums are to survive they can’t just rely on tourists popping in and they have to continue to modernise and evolve if they are to attract our attention and get us inside.
Derby Museum and Art Gallery hasn’t necessarily had the highest of profiles in the past but that has slowly been changing and there are exciting plans afoot to turn it into a cultural hub for the city.
With that in mind the museum has teamed up with Holy Smokes, a music and art collective that uses unusual and non-traditional venues to showcase its projects in the county.
Together they have come up with The History Machine – a late night journey of discovery and adventure in an alternative exploration of the museum and its collections.
“It is going to be an awesome, crazy night and really quite unique. There will be music, spoken word, theatre, film, games and even quizzes,” explained Russell Beresford who handles Holy Smokes’ promotions and wants to make sure news of the night at the museum gets to as wide an audience as possible.
His colleague Rob Newman is helping line up the acts and he was quite excited to report that the definitely very weird band Swoomp Theeng, complete with masks, will be at the party and that the Galaxians are expected to confirm they will be there too.
Also on the bill are Rattle, a female drums duo from Nottingham and the amazing musician Paddy Steer.
Ben Spiller from the 1623 Theatre Company, which also prides itself on performing Shakespeare in unusual places, is lining up some entertainment linked to Joseph Wright’s painting of Romeo and Juliet and there is even talk of a game of pinning the tail on Bottom the Donkey and Bardy pass the parcel.
Five Lamps Films are hosting and curating short films in a special cinema space and there will be guest DJ sets in the café bar.
Storytelling will be by Hello Hubmarine, a collective of writers from the city and the Derby On Board Games club will be helping visitors play a game of Risk using the museum’s maps of the world.
“We have made the night quite diverse and are involving a lot of the cultural providers in Derby. We hope that people who come along will leave having seen at least one thing they had never heard of before,” said Rob.
The event starts at 8pm and the acts have been meticulously planned in an order which means you can see as much as possible in the various different parts of the museum.
There are space limitations but Holy Smokes hope that they will sell between 180 and 200 tickets, which are £10 each, for the event on December 5.
If you want to know more or want to buy a ticket go to Holy Smokes’ facebook page and click on upcoming event.
To see a video by Swoomp Theeng scan the QR code here.