Who has never dreamt of spending a night in a museum? Would you like to know what the paintings, the works of art and, the sculptures look like when seen in the moonlight? Meeting Halfway’s Culture group tried this for you. Well, they did this during the European night of the museums. They didn’t visit every single one of the thousands of museums which took part, but from Greece to Siberia, from Spain to Hungary, let’s have a look at what they saw!
Thrill and surprises in the Museum of Death – Russia
The Museum of World Funeral Culture in Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, was one of the most popular venues to celebrate The Night of Museums-2014. Visitors had the opportunity to not only get acquainted with the accoutrements of death and funeral rituals but to also see their favourite characters from different scary bedtime stories. Thrill seekers were also in for a surprise as they had the chance to feel what it was like to be somewhat dead. To do so, they had to pluck up the courage to lie down inside the crystal coffin of the Dead Czarevna, a famous character from a fairy-tale of the great Russian writer, Alexander Pushkin. The Museum also organised a competition for the Best Fancy dress of the Night. So, seeing a drowned young woman, a charming witch or an Old Russian warrior in the crowd was something absolutely normal.
Despite the fact that death and many funeral items are associated with sorrow and tears, there still remained a merry carnival ambiance in the Museum of Death that night. Smiles could be seen everywhere. Nevertheless, feelings of circumspection and slight sadness could be read in some eyes.
Helen Mogelyuk (Russia)
A mystical sense in the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki – Greece
The Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki celebrated National Museum’s night by opening its doors to the public for a special evening, in which literature and music successfully met with the exhibits. The atmosphere was very warm. The audience, which was made up of both young and older people, was watching the events with an almost religious reverence.
Yiorgos Toumanidis (Greece)
A very crowded night in Barcelona – Spain
To begin with, by 7pm I was already at the “chocolate museum”. But what a surprise it was to discover a 2-hour long queue! What’s curious about this is that this museum is not one of the most emblematic ones here, and it’s not even in a very busy street. As I could check, this museum was especially popular among families with children.
Miriam Vázquez (Spain)
Tradition and enigma for the Hungarian National Museum – Hungary
Balloons, hurdy-gurdies, spring showers and the coming together of Hungarian museums. The Hungarian National Museum had invited 107 museums from all over the country to organise a two-day long open-air Maying on the 17-18th of May. The festival aimed to popularize particular collections presenting national traditions, like Hungarian blue-dyed fabric, hurdy-gurdies, Easter eggs or the “Telephone Herald” used in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, the goal was also to introduce international specialities, like a collection of flags from all the countries in the world, or Bavarian folk dances.
Zsófia Szlamka (Hungary)
An alternative night in Paris – France
In Paris once again, the European night of museums scared me. Too many people, too many museums, too many options… So, I randomly decided to surprise myself. I decided to go to an alternative gallery in some old public restrooms. Created for the night by art students, there were drawings on the wall, paintings on the other side, a movie playing in the background… The old toilets’ cubicles were the perfect place for this new age photography. The 1920s style of the bathroom added some classiness to this ephemeral gallery. The event was called “Artreet #1”… a sign maybe, of many more little surprises to come.
Edwige Jeannenot (France)
Discovering the city of spice – Russia
More than 400 people visited the exhibition project “Yekaterinburg – the city of the spices” in the Museum of the History of the Ural State University of Economics, in Yekaterinburg in Russia. During the evening of the 17th of May, the University didn’t sleep but spread the smells of cloves, rosemary, cardamon, cinnamon and mint.
The display area was divided into several interactive playing fields. During the night, everyone could learn about the spice-horoscope and find out which spice suited his/her character and temperament best. The most popular and fun activity for young adults were the henna tattoos while children were also busy painting the gibberies. The students of the USUE presented the best picture made from spices.
Nina Groznykh (Russia)
Glass Sculptures and Modern Art – Armenia
I visited the Cafesjian Center for the Arts which is located in the center of the Yerevan. Lots of people were playing with their kids and singing outside the museum, while a big line of people waited to get inside. The biggest line was for the 1st floor hall, where glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly, Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová were set up. The whole Museum was full of people wanting to see this modern art.
Tatevik Vardanyan (Armenia)
To discover more about Yerevan’s Museum, don’t miss the Marathon of the Museum’s night, soon on Meeting Halfway.