Going Nocturnal in Melbourne Museum’s adult-only playground

Ever wondered what it would be like to gallivant around the Melbourne Museum at night? To frolic among the bones of dinosaurs, dance alongside ancient artefacts and learn about organisms while sipping on a nice glass of wine? Well, you can now make this day dream a reality.

The Melbourne Museum is opening its doors on the first Friday of every month for Nocturnal. Transforming the museum into an after-hours adult only playground, Nocturnal offers punters full access to the exhibits, a schmick cocktail bar, live music, interactive talks and a nail salon!

We paid Nocturnal a visit on Friday Feb 2nd to see what all the fuss is about, and with the newest temporary exhibit, Inside Out, currently on show, the night was filled with promise.

Visitors are free to roam the museum after hours.

Helping bring the ‘ultimate party,’ the line-up for the night included Sampology, Kate Miller and Total Giovanni. Donned with two big screens and a disco ball, the stage was located at the core of the building providing enough space for a decent dancefloor. The electric disco vibest had punters getting low and sweating it out in the dim red mood lighting.

The main bar was also located in this area. Beer and wine was the poison on offer, and the lines were a little out of control, but for those who wondered away from this spot could find other pop-up bars available- including a Frosé cart (so very Melbourne).

Guests were free to roam around the exhibits on all levels- with security on hand to make sure you didn’t spill your drink all over a 100 yr old artefact. Expert demonstrations and talks from museum curators were also going on in different sections throughout the building, but they only stayed around until 9-9:30pm.

Expert demonstrations and curator talks.

If you were willing to pay a little extra, you could also visit the temporary Inside Out exhibition. By time we had arrived the earlier session had already sold out, and despite having tickets, for some reason we were not allowed in. We had to wait until 10pm until we could get access and by then the line was so long that it was a ‘do we see Sampology or see the exhibit’ scenario.

What is Inside Out? It claims to reimagine the way Muesums Victoria presents its collection. Made up of 370 objects, visitors are led by a kooky audio guide who introduces them to some of the museums strangest items- some that haven’t even been on display before.

I will confess, after waiting in the line for almost a good hour, I decided to bypass the headsets and sneak in (after all I did have a ticket and every time I tried to get assistance nobody helped). This was a mistake because whilst the objects looked cool and pretty and vibrant, I had no idea what I was looking at. The main premise of the exhibition is the audio guide, so I’m an idiot.

Inside Out

Overall, Nocturnal is definitely a unique experience. When you walk into the museum you’re almost immediately transported back to being a kid on excursion and then you look down at the beer in your hand and you feel like the biggest rebel.

However some words of advice: 1). If you want to explore everything on offer- all the exhibits and demonstrations – get there early, and two 2). If you go see Inside Out make sure you get the HEADSET! Don’t try and be sneaky like me, ‘good things come to those who wait.’

The next Nocturnal event will be on Friday March 2. Click here for more details and tickets.


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