ONCE a year, museums and art galleries open their doors to visitors to offer a host of special events and activities apart from the usual exhibitions, including lectures, workshops, interactive guided tours, concerts, poetry readings, night tours, simulations of archaeological research, demonstrations of traditional crafts, visits to depositories, film screenings and more. Slovakia is participating in this global initiative for the 10th time.

Last year’s Night of Museums and Galleries saw more than 100,000 people visiting Slovak venues, and it is hoped that this year’s events on May 17, 2014, will attract similar numbers, if not more.

Museums and galleries in more than 50 Slovak cities and towns will be luring people in, the Slovak National Museum (SNM) wrote in a press release. In Bratislava, visitors will pay a flat fee of €2 in the first museum, and then show their ticket for free entry in all other participating venues. State, municipal and some private museums and galleries are participating in the event, many of which will stay open until midnight.

In the capital, apart from the biggest and most central venues (the Slovak National Gallery [SNG], Bratislava City Gallery, Dizajn Štúdio, Nedbalka and others), Devín Castle, the Ancient Gerulata Rusovce archaeological site and the Museum of Petržalka Fortification at Stará Cesta na Viedeň will welcome visitors, as well as the Water Management Museum and the Volkswagen Slovakia plant in Devínska Nová Ves (offering e.g. a drive in an electro-mobile).

There will be live music at the SNG and a rock concert at the Museum of Trade in Podunajské Biskupice, while the Ján Cikker Museum will offer a live classical music performance. The Music Museum of the SNM will feature a “musical bring-and-buy sale”.

In Košice, 10 museums and galleries will be involved in the event, with a special accompanying programme at Urban’s Tower in the town’s centre, called 100 Years of Cars. The flat €2 admission fee is valid here, too.

International Museum Day was first adopted in 1977, with 108 national committees supporting a resolution designating May 18 for that day. Six years ago, the French initiative Nuit Européenne des Musées, the European Night of Museums, also supported the initiative. The goal is to present, preserve and protect cultural heritage, and to spread information on cultural diversity in individual European countries and regions.

The main Slovak organisers include the Association of Museums of Slovakia, the National Museum and the National Gallery. More information about the Slovak event can be found at nocmuzei.sk