RBS Museum Lates: Night of the Mummy

February 28, 2012


What do you do when you live in a city with around 200 museums and galleries? You fly half way across Europe to attend a museum event over 700 miles away!

It’s true – despite living in Berlin now, I just can’t stay away from the National Museum of Scotland. Ever since hearing about the roaring success of their first RBS Lates last November, an idea formed in my mind: leave the husband and #MuseumBaby to navigate the adventures of solo parenting for a few days and jet over for the next one. No sooner said than done!

As these things are much more fun if you’re not going along on your own, I arranged a girls’ night out with one of my best friends (though most of my former friends from work were on duty that evening anyway), and we secured ourselves tickets the minute they went on sale. A wise move, as it seems to be the hottest event in town and just like before the 2000 tickets sold out in no time.

The event started at 19:00, but we decided to kick off the evening in style by having dinner at the Museum’s Brasserie beforehand. To my delight they had introduced a gluten free bread option for their open sandwiches since my last visit, so I was not confined to eating salad and could indulge in a pulled pork sandwich – delicious! Once inside the actual event (with a cool nightclub-esque stamp in case you needed to go out, not that I’m a smoker, but I asked for a stamp anyway^^), we kitted ourselves out with some Tutankhamorangie cocktails and boxes of retro sweets, and had a seat on the funkily lit glow cubes to study the programme and take in the general atmosphere.

There was some stand-up comedy on offer in the auditorium courtesy of the Edinburgh Bright Club, which was introduced as “academics doing stand-up comedy” and probably in itself got as many laughs as any of the jokes. After that we had a look around the Lates Bazaar, where you could have your face painted Ancient Egyptian style (the Q was over an hour long by then so we decided to give it a miss), meet some African critters such as a giant millipede, a pair of meerkats, and the super cute pygmy hedgehog, or pull on white gloves to handle some artefacts. More artefacts were on display in the Egyptian gallery, which was open for viewing (as were several of the other galleries), and where you were likely to bump into Victorian archaeologist Hector Bruce ready to chat about his latest expedition. The new Fascinating Mummies exhibition, which had inspired the evening’s theme, was also open of course, but there was so much to see and do at the event itself that we decided to keep the exhibition for another day. The museum was absolutely buzzing by now.

We’d manage to secure one of the much coveted places to ‘Unwrap a Mummy’, where we learned all about mummified cats, watched Pharaoh Cameron have his organs removed into canopic jars, and got to pull scarabs out between the wrappings of the unwrapped mummy in question. Afterwards we had great fun dressing up as Cleopatra and Pharaoh at the photo tent, and while waiting for our picture to be printed we headed over to the magic carpet in the World Cultures galleries to make our very own Pharaoh headdresses.

There were some great bands playing in the Grand Gallery throughout the evening, such as Ally MacCrae, Bwani Junction, and Sparrow and the Workshop, not to forget the silent disco underneath the Chinese dragon in the Imagine gallery, which was back by popular demand after being such a massive hit at the first RBS Lates – well, with so many people singing along at the top of their voices to Brown Eyed Girl, Surfin’ USA, and Bohemian Rhapsody it wasn’t really all that silent^^ There was so much else to see and do that we didn’t get around to, such as the Jenners Fashion Oasis and roving models, Giant Jenga, or the screening of ‘Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy’, but there was just time for a couple of retro games in the chill out zone before the Millennium Clock chimed goodnight to close off the evening at 23:00. And thanks to Clicket Edinburgh, who had sponsored taxi rides to some of the snappers taking part in their Hipstamatic challenge, I was able to step right into my VIP taxi home.

So, was it worth it travelling all that way just to take part in a four hour event? Absolutely! The next RBS Lates will take place on Friday 18th May under the theme ‘A Night in Wonderland’. I won’t be able to make it along that time, but if you’re anywhere in the vicinity I fully recommend you secure yourself a ticket as soon as they go on sale.

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