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The best of London’s Museums at Night Festival

It is no secret that London is home to some world-class museums. These range from the large, well-known cultural centres of Kensington, not far from Royal Garden Hotel, to museums exploring the minutiae of every aspect of London life and history.

From 16 to 19 May, there is a rare opportunity to experience these spaces after hours. From specially created events to extraordinary exhibits, take advantage of Museums at Night and discover these locations from a different perspective.

LSE Library

In the 100th anniversary year of women gaining the vote, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Library offer visitors the chance to explore suffragette games. The cards and recreational items were a way to help raise funds for the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), as well as bringing attention to the cause.

The games featured include In and Out of Gaol and Pank-a-squith and are from the library’s Women’s Collection. Admission to the late-night event on 16 May at the venue on Portugal Street closes at 20:00.

Household Cavalry Museum

They say that behind every great man is a great woman and the Royal Lives, Royal Wives event at the Household Cavalry Museum is set to explore some of the figures. Not only are the likes of Charles II’s wife Catherine of Braganza celebrated, but also his mistress Nell Gwynn. More recent consorts also feature, such as the much-loved Queen Mother.

Advanced booking is advised for the event and guided tour, which will be held on 17 May from 18:00 to 20:00. You will find the museum on Horse Guards Parade.

Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

Set to be one of the ultimate highlights of this year’s Museums at Night Festival, the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising has secured a talk by Paul McCrudden, head of global marketing at Twitter. He will take a look at Twitter and its relationship with culture, as well as the story of the brand.

Visitors will also be able to investigate 150 years’ worth of advertising and packaging throughout the museum’s exhibitions. The late-night event is to be staged on May 17 from 18:30 to 21:00.

Benjamin Franklin House

There are several chances to take an atmospheric candle-lit tour around the Benjamin Franklin House during the Museums at Night Festival. Visitors will find out more about the original architectural features of this Grade I-listed Georgian townhouse, which is the only remaining residence of the most famous of the US founding fathers.

Tours are on offer on 17 and 18 May, with various time slots throughout both evenings. Book yourself a visit and enjoy a drink in a property with a strong transatlantic link to history.

London Transport Museum

Be transported back to the swinging sixties, with a packed schedule of talks, tours, poetry and workshops. The London Transport Museum will continue to celebrate the artists featured in its Poster Girls exhibitions, as well as putting them into context. As it is a Friday night, there is no excuse not to indulge in a Flower Power cocktail and let your hair down.

Wander the exhibitions at Covent Garden’s most beloved museum up until 22:00 on 18 May.

Bank of England Museum

Money is something we use every day, but is often not given the full consideration it deserves. Handle some of the objects from the Bank of England Museum’s collection that are not usually on display and visit the fascinating Banknote Gallery after hours.

Talks will explain how money has evolved over the years and the features that ensure it cannot be counterfeited. Learn about the most sophisticated banknotes ever produced by the Bank of England and what the future might hold for British currency. Join in the event in the heart of the City of London on 18 May until 21:00.

Keats House

Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Endymion by John Keats, which features the famous line, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”, with a guided tour, short talk and poetry sessions at his former residence. The former home of the romantic poet will come alive with a festive atmosphere to include live music.

You can even toast the great man himself, as there will be a bar and a cocktail served to guests on arrival. Late Night Keats: A Thing of Beauty will be held on 18 May between 19:00 and 21:00.

London Canal Museum

An exploration of the themes represented in Ulysses by James Joyce through music will form the basis for a groundbreaking performance at the London Canal Museum. Played in a way that mirrors the author’s writing style, the musical poem is made up of five movements, featuring the voice, flute and guitar.

The London Canal Museum on New Wharf Road will be hosting the performance on 19 May at 19:30. It is a rare opportunity to see the Nomoi Italian Contemporary Ensemble in London.

Photo credit: simonbradfield via iStock

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