• Expect people to be out and about around London at all hours this weekend with the kick-off tonight of Museums At Night, Culture24’s annual festival of after hours visits. This year’s packed program features everything from ‘Arts on Ice’ – a look at the Victorian ice trade – at the London Canal Museum to art nights at the Government Art Collection building, nocturnal tours of Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College, and, for the first time, the chance for adults to sleep over at Hampton Court Palace and kids at Kensington Palace. Other London organisations taking part include the Handel House Museum, the Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Benjamin Franklin House, the National Gallery and Somerset House (and that’s just a few off the list!). For more information on the night – including a full program of events – check out the Culture24 Museums at Night website.
• Government spin comes under the spotlight in a major new exhibition which opens tomorrow at the British Library in King’s Cross. Propaganda: Power and Persuasion examines how state have used propaganda in the 20th and 21st centuries and features more than 200 exhibits including Nazi propaganda and everyday objects such as banknotes and badges. Admission charge applies. There’s a series of events running to coincide with the exhibition which runs until 17th September. For more, see www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/propaganda/index.html.
• It’s 10 years since the Museum of London Docklands opened in a converted Georgian warehouse on West India Quay and to celebrate they’re holding an exhibition celebrating the Thames estuary. Titled (appropriately enough), Estuary, the exhibition features the work of 12 artists in a variety of mediums – from film and photography to painting. Entry is free. The exhibition, which opens tomorrow, runs until 27 October. The museum is also holding a special day of family activities to celebrate its creation this Saturday. For more, see www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Docklands/.
• On Now: STEADman@77. This exhibition at The Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury looks at the work of graphic artist Ralph Steadman (who is celebrating his 77th birthday) and features more than 100 original works published in magazines ranging from Private Eye to Rolling Stone, Punch and the New Statesmen as well as his illustrated books (these include Sigmund Freud, Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking-Glass, I, Leonardo, The Bid I Am, and Animal Farm). Runs until 8th September. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.cartoonmuseum.org.
• A new exhibition in which visitors can experience life during the Second World War through the eyes of a London family opens today at the Imperial War Museum in London. A Family in Wartime explores the lives of William and Alice Allpress and their 10 children at their South London home during the war as the face events such as the Blitz and the evacuation of the city. The display includes firsthand audio accounts from members of the family, photographs and a detailed model of the family home at 69 Priory Grove. Two of the family’s sons served in the military during the war while three of the daughters joined the Women’s Voluntary Service. Artefacts on display include many everyday household items such as cookery books which gave advice on cooking with limited rations and stirrup pumps which people were encouraged to wear in case of incendiary bombs as well as newspaper clippings, propaganda posters and film footage. There will also be artworks depicting wartime living by artists including Henry Moore, Wilfred Haines and Leila Faithful. Admission is free. For more, see www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-london.
• Hogwarts has come to London’s north with the opening of the new Warner Bros Studio Tour in Leavesden. The tour, which was launched this week, features sets, costumes and pros from the Harry Potter series of films and reveals how special effects and animatronics were used in the movies. Highlights include the chance to visit Hogwarts Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office and Diagon Alley as well as see Harry’s Nimbus 2000, the flying Ford Anglia owned by the Weasleys and Hagrid’s motorcycle. For more information, see www.wbstudiotour.co.uk.
• The Kew Bridge Steam Museum in London’s west has been awarded a £1.84 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant for a restoration project that will see new visitor facilities and more modern displays as well as new outdoor water-based actvities. Project Aquarius will also see outstanding repairs to the Grade I and Grade II listed buildings – described as the most important historic site of the water supply industry in the UK – completed. The museum, which opened 37 years ago, features four giant working Cornish steam pumping engines as part of its displays telling the story of London’s water supply and attracts some 15,000 visitors a year. For more, see www.kbsm.org.
• On Now: British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age. The V&A’s major spring exhibition, this is a showcase of British design from the 1948 ‘Austerity Olympics’ to present day and features more than 300 objects – from the 1959 Morris Mini Minor to a model of the recently completed Zaha Hadid-designed London Aquatics Centre. Highlighting significant moments in British design, the exhibition looks not only at 60 years worth of fashion, furniture, fine art, graphic design, photography, ceramics, architecture and industrial design but also investigates how the UK continues to nuture artistic talent and the role British design and manufacturing plays around the world. Admission charge applies. Runs until 12th August. For more see www.vam.ac.uk.
We’re taking a break over Easter – posts will resume next Tuesday. In the meantime have a great Easter!