Museums Draw Adults to Science Sleepovers

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Museums have catered to kids long enough. Now they are reaching out to adults in a unique way–sleepovers.

How cool is that?

Imagine yourself sleeping in a replica of the deep, blue ocean surrounded by museummarine life, eerie shadows lurking nearby.

You’d feel like you were in another world, living out your childhood fantasy of exploring a museum at night, without having to corral kids or fall in line with a class.

Personally, I would love it.

Here’s a little more on this new adult science getaway, from MSN News:

The American Museum of Natural History is hosting its first adults-only sleepover this week, with a champagne reception, live jazz and a three-course dinner. Guests will spend the night in sleeping bags beneath the iconic 94-foot-long blue whale suspended in the cavernous Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.

The event sold out in three hours, organizers said.

Adults-only overnights are rather rare, yet experts say they can be an excellent and innovative way for U.S. museums to attract new supporters.

Scores of museums offer overnights for children, popularized by the children’s tales “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” about runaways hiding in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the book and movie “Night at the Museum,” about a watchman who discovers exhibits come to life after visitors leave.

Children taking part in overnight programs can solve crimes at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, explore caves at the Cincinnati Museum Center, watch sharks at the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco and snooze inside a submarine at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

At the Museum of Natural History, some 62,000 children have participated in overnight events since they began in 2006, said Brad Harris, senior director of visitor services.

About 175 people are scheduled to attend the adult event.

“Obviously we hit on something people want to do,” Harris said.

DREAMING OF ART

At New York’s Rubin Museum of Art, adults can attend a “Dream-Over,” sleeping under works of art and having their dreams interpreted when they awake.

New Yorker Carolyn Robbins attended a recent “Dream-Over” at the Rubin, which houses collections from Himalayan Asia, and said it left her wanting more.

“I would actually be interested in doing it at other museums because it’s an incredible opportunity,” she said. “There’s a lot that happens when you’re asleep. You gain knowledge in a different way than when you are awake.”

And a museum with a crowd is incomparable, she said.

“Being there when it’s quiet and dimly lit is a completely different experience,” she said.

That’s what happens at the Georgia Aquarium, where adult sleepovers provide the chance to commune with residents that are more active at night, said Kelli Edwards, assistant manager of interpretive programs.

The giant Pacific octopus is nocturnal and gets busy, as do the whale sharks, she said. The four beluga whales are more prone to come to the windows they share with visitors and blow ring bubbles, she said.

I’m ready to sleepover at a museum near me. Put me in a Native American camp site from the 1700s, or on a faux lunar surface with constellations surrounding me up close and personal. Yeah. Awesome. Where do I buy my ticket?

THBby T.M. Burroughs

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Rodney Lee Conover

Rodney Lee Conover is a writer, producer and Senior Editor at JoeForAmerica.com

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