Museum Night Returns
Published: May 14, 2014 (Issue # 1810)
Once a year in St. Petersburg, the public has a chance to discover what really goes on in a museum at night after the doors are closed.
On Saturday, May 17, 96 museums in the city, as well as the Leningrad Zoo, will keep their doors open until the early morning hours as part of the annual Museum Night. Each will have a special program prepared for visitors, including one-off exhibitions, performances and concerts.
The annual event, which celebrates International Museum Day, is held across 42 European countries. Up to 2,000 museums around the world are estimated to participate in the event this year.
First held in Berlin in 1997, St. Petersburg first joined the annual event in 2008. Every year the event has a new theme as a way of uniting the museums, with this year’s theme being “Light and Color.”
Twenty-one St. Petersburg museums will be participating in the event for the first time. Among these is the Baltiisky Dom Theater, which promises to reveal the secrets of the backstage as well as show visitors how the performances are created.
Stroganovsky Palace, regarded as one of the most romantic palaces in St. Petersburg, will also be joining the event for the first time, giving guests a chance to uncover the secrets of the building’s architecture.
Having just celebrated Victory Day, many locals may also be in the mood to visit the Museum of the Defense and the Siege of Leningrad, where military cars and Red Army weapons will be exhibited along with other memorabilia from the siege.
One of the most interesting events of the night will actually happen just outside the city, at the Priory Palace in Gatchina. Built in the late 18th century as a prior of the Maltese Order by Russian Emperor Paul I, its program on Museum Night will include a reenactment of a military drill around the palace by knights from Malta.
Special performances on the night include a concert at St. Isaac’s Cathedral, with an orchestra playing in front at 9 p.m.
To help people plan their evening, the Museum Night website helps visitors to map out their best route as they pick their museums, as well as displaying the most popular choices so far. Currently, top museum choices include the St. Petersburg botanical gardens and the planetarium, where films will be screened on the building’s facade and, if weather permits, will allow visitors the chance to get up close to the stars above with telescope viewings.
Those interested in taking part in the event can buy a Museum Night ticket for 350 rubles ($10), which will give them entry to all museums. Children seven and under have free entry. Visitors can also buy single entry tickets at each museum.
To help with public transport for the night, special city night buses will be operating from midnight until 6 a.m. There will also be five Museum Night buses operating with routes between major museums, which will be free for those with a Museum Night ticket.