Caro Wallis Pitt Rivers
The Pitt Rivers Museum will open from 7pm to 10pm for a 'Day of the Dead' event on 30 October

Caro Wallis (Flickr)

Ghoulish events at museums marked Halloween night

Matt Pickles

Two of Oxford's museums opened late on Friday 30 October for Halloween-themed events. The Pitt Rivers Museum held an event called 'Day of the Dead' as part of its AfterHours series.

The evening explored how different cultures respond to death, focusing on mourning, memorialisation and celebration. The Ashmolean Museum ran an event called 'DeadFriday', as part of its LiveFriday series. The museum opened from 7pm to 10.30pm for visitors to enjoy talks, music and performances related to ghosts and spirits.

There were bite-size talks by over 25 Oxford Humanities researchers organised by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) at both events, exploring different objects in the museum's collections, as well as music, workshops and other live performances.

Professor Elleke Boehmer, Acting Director of TORCH and Professor of World Literature, says: 'One of TORCH's core strategic aims is to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration through fostering creative research environments.

'Museums are fantastic places to communicate research, engage with a wide range of amazing objects and reach out to the wider public - we were delighted to be a part of the Ashmolean’s DEADFriday and the Pitt Rivers' Day of the Dead event.'

The LiveFriday and AfterHours series have been notable for bringing a younger audience to the museum, and for allowing academics in the University to engage directly with the public. Dr Alexandra Lumbers, Academic Director at Jesus College, has attended several LiveFriday events.

She says: 'Generally I am not a huge museum-goer as I often find them a bit static but with the Live Fridays, it really brings the museum to life and really helps a wide variety of visitors to appreciate its treasures and understand them better.

It's great to see all from young children right through to quite elderly guests mingling and enjoying the evening together

Dr Alexandra Lumbers

'I really like the diversity of those who attend – it's great to see all from young children right through to quite elderly guests mingling and enjoying the evening together.

'There’s a great buzz with all the music, dance, interactive activities and that brings out the best in the museum and those who attend – it brings all these wonderful artefacts and treasures back to life.'