Spend a Night at the Museum

Spend a Night at the Museum

Just days before the launch of the sequel to Hollywood blockbuster Night at the Museum, visitors to an Aberdeen event will have the chance to see how close the film script comes to real life.

The University of Aberdeen will throw open the doors of its Zoology Museum this Saturday (16 May) for an exciting evening of spooky science and captivating activities.

Now in its second year, the inaugural Night at the Museum event attracted over 700 visitors to the Zoology Museum eager to discover what really goes bump in the night behind the closed doors of the intriguing building.

Night at the Museum is part of a Europe wide initiative which will see thousands of museums across the continent invite members of the public in after hours.

The free event is also part of the University's Word Extra programme – a number of events complementing the institution's annual Writers Festival, Word 09.

Astronomy and evolution will provide the focus for Night at the Museum II, with a range of family activities taking place to inspire children of all ages.

Visitors will have the chance to get hands on with an array of fascinating natural history specimens, from an elephant's tooth to a crocodile's skull.

Live owls will be presented in a show by Grampian Hawks Ltd, a workshop investigating the story of human evolution will be delivered by the University's Department of Archaeology and the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, and poet Kelley Swain will give readings from her collection, Darwin's Microscope.

Evolution will also provide the theme for a unique black light and shadow theatre show performed by Aberdeen Street Entertainers, local storyteller Pauline Cordiner and staff from the University's Natural History Centre.

The eminent scientist who shaped our understanding of how life evolved, Charles Darwin, will be brought back to life thanks to Aberdeen based mobile theatre company Live Wire Productions.

Dr Stephen Bowden from the University's Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology will give a talk entitled Evidence of life in cold, old and odd places.

Whilst the Aberdeen Astronomical Society will reveal some fascinating insights into the planet Saturn, with sky viewing sessions in the Cruickshank Botanic Garden.

The 11 acre Botanic Garden which houses a magnificent collection of plants normally closes at 4.30pm.  From this Saturday however and for the rest of the summer, the gardens will be open for the first time to the public in the evenings through until dusk.

Mandy Tulloch, Development Co-ordinator for the University's Natural History Centre who has organised the event said: "This year, 2009, celebrates both the International Year of Astronomy and the bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth. We thought it apt therefore that this year's Night at the Museum focused on the themes of astronomy and evolution to mark these scientific landmarks.

"Last year's event was a fantastic success, drawing in a wealth of visitors inspired to take a sneaky peak into the spooky after hour's activity at the Zoology Museum.  With a vast range of exciting scientific performances and hands on activities available once again, this year's event offers something for all the family."

Night at the Museum II takes place on Saturday 16 May at the Zoology Museum in the Zoology Building, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen from 6 – 11pm.

The event is free and pre-registration is not required.  Free parking is available on-site.

For more information contact the Natural History Centre on 01224 274545, email nat.hist@abdn.ac.uk or visit www.abdn.ac.uk/science/darwin/