MUSEUMS are again preparing to open their doors for an annual night-time celebration of learning.

Oxford University’s four free museums are among those taking place in Museum at Night next Friday, May 16.

The national event – organised by non-profit Culture24 with Arts Council England funding – has been held since 2009.

The Pitt Rivers Museum in South Parks Road, Oxford will set the cavernous collection of archaeological and anthropological treasures aglow.

Visitors will be provided with torches to explore the collections, including a giant 11.4m Canadian totem pole.

City group Strange Folk will provide live music with a mix of a cappella vocalists, guitarists and a mixed string band.

A mystery work by performance artist Brian Catling, pictured, who has worked with film, sculpture and literature, is also promised alongside lantern making. Spokeswoman Tracy Jarvis said: “He will be doing something, we can’t say what. It is definitely going to be an eye-opener, he will wow the audience.”

She said: “It creates awareness of museums in communities and attracts families who don’t often come to the museum.

“It gets people talking about the museum and raises awareness about the collections.”

Events including mask making and live music will be held in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, part of the same building at Pitt.

Broad Street’s Museum of the History of Science will also host talks and activities from 7pm to 10.30pm.

Beaumont Street’s Ashmolean Museum promises a “special evening of magic” from 7pm to 10pm It will include magic shows, workshops, tarot reading, stargazing, film, live music and flamenco dance.

Performers will include Magic Circle Young Magician of the Year 2013 Sebastian Walton and county magician Richard Kidd.

The Chipping Norton Amateur Astronomy Group will be outside to help people spot constellations while Master Kristina Neuhauser will speak on Chinese astrology. David Gerrard will play on the museum’s own harpsichords alongside mezzo-soprano Esther Brazil and there will be druid storytelling with Chris Park and tarot reading with clairvoyant Caroleena Elphinstone.

City group Flights of Helios will provide a live music score to an 8.45pm screening of the oldest surviving animated feature film, 1926’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed.

  • Find more events at

    What's on and where...
  • Pitt Rivers Museum
    Torch-lit exhibitions
    Lantern making
    Live band performances
    Performance art
    Cash bar


Ashmolean Museum


Magic shows
Live flamenco
Chinese Astrology
Baroque music
Showing of film The Adventures of Prince Achmed, with live score
Special curator tours and talks
Astrolabe Demonstration
Druid Storytelling and Tarot

  • Oxford University Museum of Natural History and Museum of the History of Science

Tours of Natural Histories
Crafts: making star-dials and bat hats
1922 German horror film,