During the weekend of 16 – 18 May 2013, museums and galleries in towns and cities across Britain opened their doors to visitors after hours, as part of a national festival called Museums at Night. Many museums hosted special events and activities to entertain and inspire visitors, both young and old.
To celebrate the event, the Manchester Museums and Galleries Partnership (including the Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery) won a competition to bring the artist, Richard Wentworth, to the city to ‘curate an exhibition in a night’ comprising objects donated by members of the public.
As part of the project Researching the New, we wanted to find out how people responded to this unusual invitation to visit museums when they are usually closed. Does nighttime visiting change our perception of museums, and if so, how? Do people behave differently in a gallery after hours? How does the museum become a more social space? What role does an artist play in curating an audience, as well as a collection of objects?
We invited visitors to the Manchester Museum, the Whitworth Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery to join in a conversation about their experiences on Twitter using the hashtag #mynightmuseum. One of the objectives of Researching the New is to explore the use of digital and visual technologies in data capture and analysis, and this is how we present #mynightmuseum here through tweets, via maps and visual data.