8000 After-hours Events in UK Museums Generate over £9m

Museum of London May 2017 © Jon Reid and Museum of London

Arts charity Culture24, producers of the Museums at Night festival, has published three linked reports into after-hours events in museums and galleries (Lates) and their role in the night-time economy. The reports conclude that if Lates can be supported by night-time economy policymakers they could generate a further £7.7m over the next 5 years on top of the £9.6m they already earnt in ticket sales alone.

The reports – A Culture of Lates , the UK report funded by Arts Council England (and its 7 page Executive Summary); An International Culture of Lates, supported by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust; and Late Like A Local, supported by Airbnb, combine to make a powerful case for museum directors and programmers to collaborate with policymakers to create more opportunities for the public to enjoy Lates events and keep museum doors open for longer.

Gathering evidence from venue programmers and policymakers in Australia, Russia and Mexico alongside UK first-hand evidence and data, these reports represent the first time anywhere in the world that a major study has been devoted entirely to the subject of Lates and their role in the night-time economy.

The reports reveal the scale of after-hours museum and gallery openings and events in the UK; why venues do, and don’t, open after hours; what kinds of events they offer; where the hot and cold spots are in the UK and much more about the role Lates have in the context of night-time economy issues. The research also tackles how Lates can make a contribution to diversifying the night-time economy and helping UK towns and cities provide a more balanced evening cultural offer.

The UK report, featuring a foreword by Lucy Woodbridge, Head of Visitor Events at the Natural History Museum, and contributions from London Night Time Czar, Amy Lamé and former London night-time commission chair Philip Kolvin, will trigger debate about how the museum sector can harness the potential of Lates to generate income and reach new audiences.

The Late Like A Local report shows that Lates are exciting, active events where participation is encouraged, offering opportunities for tourists to experience culture with and like a local – and hosts on Airbnb are ideally placed to help develop audiences for a diverse, local night-time cultural offer.

Nick Stockman, Museums at Night Campaigns Manager says: “We at Culture24 have known how much people love Lates events at a museum or gallery for years: now we have some evidence to demonstrate their impact. We can use these reports’ findings to support museums to programme many more high-quality events and ensure that UK museums develop their programmes to play an increasingly important role in the UK’s growing night-time economy!”

Natasha Mytton Mills, Airbnb’s UK and Ireland Campaign Manager, says: “Hosts on Airbnb have welcomed almost six million global guests to the UK last year, generating £3.5 billion for local businesses and communities. Living like a local is a key reason guests choose Airbnb, and hosts are great ambassadors for the museums and Lates events in their neighbourhoods. We look forward to seeing visitors discover more unique and diverse communities and experiences across the UK.”

6 key findings from these reports:

• 18,198 Lates events registered with Culture24 since January 2009 – 72,000 when the events not registered with Culture24 are taken into account
• 29% (3,790) cost £10 or less (charged-for Lates events registered on the Culture24 database)
• £9.6m of ticket revenue was earnt from Lates events – 5% year on year growth would earn an extra £7.7m over five years
• 2,555 UK venues have registered a Lates event with Culture24 since 2009
• 72.9% of public survey respondents said they want more events in their area
• 59.1% of respondents said more Lates events in other locations apart from their home town would make those destinations more attractive to visit

As Lucy Woodbridge, Head of Visitor Events at the Natural History Museum concludes in the report foreword: “Do you want to be part of a Culture of Lates? If the answer is yes, fantastic – you are part of a movement which will ensure a bright future for our sector.”

The reports are free to download here:

Museum-iD Magazine #21

Museum-iD Magazine #21

International, independent and influential. Museum-iD shares progressive thinking and developments in museums globally.

Sign up to the Museum-iD Newsletter:

Sign up to the Museum-iD Newsletter: