The Ashmolean Museum, Museum of the History of Science, Pitt Rivers Museum and Bodleian Library will all open late tomorrow (Friday 22 November) as Oxford is lit up for Christmas.
This year's Christmas Light Night has been expanded to a full weekend of culture, dance, music and other special events.
The museums' activities will complement Oxford traditions such as the St Giles' Christmas market and Victorian fairground.
Known as the Christmas Light Festival and incorporating the popular Light Night, highlights of the weekend include the Ashmolean hosting one of its regular Live Friday events from 7pm to 10.30pm – this time inspired by Oxford's rich folk heritage. The evening will feature live folk music, both traditional and contemporary, as well as theatrical performances, participatory ceilidhs, talks and workshops – all against a backdrop of the museum's collections.
The Ashmolean is also one of the organisations that has been working with children from local schools and community groups to create lanterns for this year's lantern parade, which is on the theme of Morris's Marvellous Machines and CS Lewis's Characterful Creations.
And on Sunday at 11am, the Ashmolean will host Vox Steady, a pop-up choir event, as part of a Day of Song that culminates in a concert on the St Giles' main stage at 3.30pm.
The Museum of the History of Science is inviting people to help celebrate the opening of its new exhibition, titled Crystals: Beauty, Science, Structure. Visitors will discover fascinating facts about the most festive of all crystals – the snowflake – as well as enjoying music, hearing about the science and history of snow, and watching films with snowy themes. The event takes place from 7pm to 11pm on Friday.
At the torch-lit Pitt Rivers Museum, the Inside Sound: Light Night event on Friday evening from 7pm to 11pm will immerse visitors in evocative rainforest soundscapes as a multi-channel sound installation broadcasts stunning Bayaka recordings from the archives. See the Pitt Rivers website for admission details.
The Bodleian Library will mark this year's Christmas festival by opening the Divinity School and Convocation House free of charge on Friday from 6pm to 8pm. Built in 1488 for the teaching of theology, the Divinity School features an elaborately vaulted ceiling with 455 carved bosses and is a masterpiece of English Gothic architecture. The 17th-century Convocation House, meanwhile, was where Parliament was held during the Civil War.
In addition, many of the city's best loved cultural venues – including its galleries, theatres, Castle and Town Hall – will be opening their doors to the public for the evening.
Oxford City Council is encouraging people to travel by public transport across the Christmas Light Festival weekend – including making use of the city's park and ride sites.
Christmas Light Festival takes place between Friday 22 and Sunday 24 November. More details are available on the website.