Held in virtual format for the last two years, Saturday sees the return of one of the city’s most-loved cultural extravaganzas: the Night of Museums…
Celebrating its 18th edition, Night of Museums has grown from a minor event (the first edition saw 16,000 people file through eleven venues) to a mighty juggernaut attracting well in excess of 200,000 people.
What is it?
In essence, on the evening of May 14th you’ll find scores of museums, galleries and institutions flinging their doors open to the public and laying on a feast of nighttime attractions, reenactments and performances to add a twist to the usual experience. This year’s installment has seen 202 institutions sign up in total.
While most venues had yet to reveal their plans at press time, keep an eye out for the comprehensive guidebook published by City Hall in the days leading up to NoM. Available in print (47,000 Polish-language copies, 4,000 English-language copies) and online in PDF format, this essential booklet lists all participating venues and associated events. Its scope is mind-boggling – miss it at your peril. For more, CLICK ME!
As per tradition, the city will be bringing out a fleet of vintage vehicles from retirement and lay on a range of free transport options enabling you to zip from place-to-place in retro style. Expect historic trams to be rolled-out, as well as antiquated Ikarus and Ogórek buses (so-named on account of their gherkin-style shape). These are expected to run from 6.30 p.m. till 2 a.m.
Who’s It For?
Night of Museums is just about the most socially diverse celebration you can imagine – and the proof is in the pudding. Marked out with a special icon, check City Hall’s pamphlet to find which venues will be welcoming cats and dogs!
No matter where you go, expect crowds. If you don’t fancy being caught in ever stretching queues then use the opportunity to visit Warsaw’s lesser-known museums – frequently, it’s these unsung gems that prove to be the biggest surprise. Further, use the booklet produced by City Hall to your advantage to check out opening times. If you’re visiting the capital’s star attractions, then you’re often better off saving them till last when the visiting hordes have dwindled. The real stars though are one-off attractions usually closed to the public: places like police stations, TV and radio stations, secret bunkers, etc.
It’s becoming increasingly popular to tick of as many museums as possible before bragging about it to all. So far, the record stands at 19 museums in five hours.
Imagine queueing for an hour only to be told you’re not getting in because you haven’t got ID: well, it has happened! A number of the more secretive institutions (among them, the Filtry Waterworks) require visitors to provide photographic ID.
Queues for the A-list museums and galleries will often stretch around the block. In this case, however, queueing is often part of the fun. Aside from filling you with a rare sense of community, many places will have attractions laid on for those waiting patiently in line.