The University of Cambridge opens its doors from 15 – 28 October for the 11th annual Festival ofIdeas which this year explores the theme of “extremes”. Celebrating the arts, humanities and social sciences, a packed programme of over 200 events includes talks, exhibitions, films, debates and performances held in galleries, museums and lecture theatres across the city. There’s something here for everyone, whether your interest lies in politics, history, the arts, literature or music or whether you just want to open your mind to new ideas and to question the status quo. Most events are free, some need to be booked in advance which you can do through the Festival website.
In this season of mist and mellow fruitfulness, don’t miss Apple Day at the stunning forty acre Cambridge University Botanic Garden on 21 October. It’s a wonderful celebration of all things appley with tastings, advice on cultivation, children’s activities, free guided garden tours and a marquee full of locally produced edibles. Come hungry as you’ll find a wide choice of refreshments from a variety of food trucks and the Garden Café. And if you have a mystery apple tree in your garden, you need the apple identification service. Just bring along a couple of apples with a leaf and stalk attached and who knows, you may bring a lost heritage variety to light!
Have you seen that movie “Night at the Museum”? And wondered how it feels to wander round a museum after hours? Well, wonder no more because now’s your chance to find out as Cambridge University Museums’ “Twilight at the Museums” event invites you to explore fourteen local museums and collections after dark, from 4.30 – 7.30pm on Tuesday 13 February.
There’s a wealth of events to enjoy. At the Polar Museum, you can meet some of the characters that have made polar history. Or why not become a geological pioneer at the University Library, discovering rocks, fossils and extraordinary maps at the “Landscapes Below” exhibition. Join the Eclipse Expedition at the Whipple Museum and follow in the footsteps of historic explorers on a scientific trail as you gather vital equipment and travel across distant lands to observe a rare solar eclipse.
At the Fitzwilliam Museum, a stunning building that is home to a world-class collection of works of art and antiquities, there’ll be a Kaleidoscope of Colour. See if you can touch, hear or taste colour and find out if it can change the way you see things. Enjoy special demonstrations, musical performances, interactive play and dazzling projections as you experience the collection through a range of colour. Head to Kettle’s Yard to pick up your Twilight Trail and discover the newly opened gallery spaces. Visit the glasshouses at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden to hunt for orchids and to find out more about these amazing plants. Full details of these and the many events at other venues are on the Cambridge University Museums’ website – details at the end of this post.
Richard White, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, tells me that the museums will all be colourful this year, with special lighting so that you can explore their collections in a different way. It’s also a great opportunity to discover a museum that maybe you’ve been meaning to visit for ages as well as to learn some amazing facts.
“Twilight at the Museums” is a free family event and children of all ages are welcome. You won’t go hungry either as there’ll be pop up food stands at the Downing Site (outside the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) and the cafes at the Botanic Garden, the Fitzwilliam Museum and Kettles Yard will be open too. Most of the venues are just a short walk apart so wrap up warm and bring a torch to help you explore those darker corners ….. who knows what you’ll find amongst the shadows??!!