I guess I had not considered that sleeping in a museum wouldn’t involve much sleeping. As I briefly think again about the short after-dinner lecture on ‘sleeping in space’ it’s hard not to think that going to sleep on a thin foam pad on a hard floor at 3am and being woken up in earnest at 7:30 am would most likely disrupt my Sunday’s circadian cycle.
This time though I don’t care the slightest and to be honest when 3 am comes I am a bit disappointed that I cannot continue going about my own business around this amazing building.
The idea of sleeping in any museum is exciting enough but to actually spend a night inside one of London’s coolest museums keeps me going through the night.
We are amongst a few hundred privileged guests who have managed to secure tickets for the first Astronights event: a sleepover at the Science Museum in London involving a 3-course dinner accompanied with live music, welcome drinks, lectures and activities, screening of Star Wars “The Force Awakens” at the only venue in Europe showing it on a 15/70mm IMAX 2D screen and a night’s “sleep” amongst the museum’s artefacts.
We arrive at the museum just after 7pm. I assume that the small queue & waiting time is the advantage of being slightly late on the scheduled time. A few minutes after the security bag search we are excitedly walking under a rocket hanging from the ceiling towards the “who am I?” gallery, our allocated sleeping area. The downside of arriving later is that the prime spots are already gone.
We arrange our sleeping bags over the thin mat provided by the museum at a spot of our choice. Our nest for the night. We are next to an illuminated display. It’s only later that I notice the words etched on the glass next to my pillow: “putrefied hunger”, “maggot”, “decayed”, “excrement”. The science of the body. Charming!
There is actually no time to ponder over it. After a short introduction and a walk through what feels like a maze I am sitting at the dinner table and I have forgotten all about my weird sleeping spot.
When I finally have time to glance at the program I can see that we are in for a fun packed night. We get to meet the museum curator who gives us an insight into the process behind the procurement of the museum artefacts, we then have a go ourselves at promoting the most random and weird items to convince him that they are worth the spotlight. I am seriously impressed at the wittiness of people at 11pm.
Well I guess it is.
It seems to go all very quickly. Just after 3am I am tucked in my sleeping bag and falling asleep with a grin on my face.
It’s not comfortable but it is special and that feels great.
I’ll really cherish this memory.
Going back to the Science Museum will never be the same.