Lineup announced for Museums Showoff 1, 25th April

On April 25th 10 brave souls will take a step into the unknown, and conquer the stage at the first-ever Museums Showoff. Come along to see what happens when you let literally anyone have nine minutes to do anything at all about museums in any way.

The gig is at the Camden Head (the one on Camden High Street, not the other one!), doors are at 7pm. It’s free to get in, but we do ask for a donation in our bucket (we suggest £5) to our charity of the month, Arts Emergency, http://www.arts-emergency.org/ who campaign to make arts and humanities degrees accessible to people from disadvantaged backgrounds. All money donated will go to the charity.

Our compere, on loan from Science Showoff, will be Steve Cross, who will be telling jokes, mucking about, ranting and generally keeping things ticking along. He might even have written some museums-based material by then.

And the amazing acts are:

Terence Eden – QRpedia.org is a brilliantly simple way to link museum exhibits to Wikipedia. It’s cheap, easy to use, and works on any camera phone.

Brian Macken – Called the ‘Dead Zoo’ by generation of Dubliners, the Irish Natural History Museum is a unique place. It has benefited from a kind of benign neglect, where for a very long time it ran on an annual operating budget of two ham sandwiches and a packet of stamps; but this has left it as a wonderful ‘museum of a museum’ which has stood basically unchanged since the late 1800s. Brian is going to tell the story of the Dead Zoo, covering the Irish war of independence, incorrect monkeys, an expedition to rescue a drunk, choking eels, collapsing stairs, Stanley, Dr Livingstone, Fitzroy and the biggest antlers you’ve ever seen in your life.

Dinosaur Planet – MJ Hibbett (and Steve) present extracts from their rock opera about space dinosaurs, giant robots and the value of effective literature reviews. WARNING: features The Hornpipe

Gordon Cummings – I’ll tell how a small group of enthusiasts brought an abandoned Victorian gallery back to life, and created the North West Essex Collection, now acknowledged to be of national importance. From opening with a few loaned pictures in 1987, we now have over 900 works by north west Essex artists, including, Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious, John Bellany and Keith Vaughan, and 900 members of the Fry Art Gallery Society: this has been achieved with no core funding and no paid staff.

Subhadra Das – An Introduction to UCL’s Pathology Collections. Or, Why Russell Brand Should Never Be Let Near Any Museum Collection; Ever.

Gemma Angel – 19th century French criminologist Alexandre Lacassagne once described tattoos as ‘speaking scars’. Working with the Wellcome’s collection of 300 preserved tattooed human skins, Gemma Angel will be talking about what these objects may say to us today, as she explores the photographic archives of Paris and Lyon for clues in the search for their origins.

Rosie Clarke – 100,000 happy visitors can’t be wrong! It’s less than a month till the Museums at Night festival explodes into life at museums, galleries and heritage sites across the UK – but what’s it all about, and how does it come together? Discover quirky event highlights (and stories of behind-the-scenes hijinks) from Culture24′s marketing coordinator Rosie Clarke.

Ayla Lepine – A few days ago, 16 teenagers were unleashed in the Victoria and Albert Museum armed with nothing but a pencil and a burning ambition to become the next Norman Foster. This is the (precisely 9 minutes long) tale of how an eccentric architect/writer/sculptor from Texas with incredible taste in shoes and an academic/curator/experienced standup comedian (no, seriously) from Vancouver corralled these feisty youths and and transformed them from hopefuls into pros in a single Saturday.

Catherine Walker – Come and see a selection of handling objects from Wellcome Collection’s permanent galleries, such as a shrunken head, a strand of DNA and a model of a human brain!

Steve Lloyd – Bringing digital content into physical spaces. Steve Lloyd from ico design will show and tell how they put responsive signage in The Science Museum & an internet enabled industrial robot in the Houses of Parliament.

We did have reanimated museum philanthropist Henry Wellcome booked in to perform, but he has sadly fallen in love and is too busy “pining, sighing and swooning” to join us. Go see @Henry_Wellcome on Twitter for details.

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