This weekend saw museums fling open their doors after dark for the annual cultural extravaganza that is Museums at Night. You might have seen this post which included a brief round up of Museum at Night events , if you did see that one, then you’ll know I was headed to the Diving Museum in Gosport.
Although the event didn’t kick off until 9pm, the sun was still settling as we arrived at the museum, where a queue was already starting to form.
The event promised to be a good one,
the atmosphere will be hazy and mysterious; volunteers will be moving around the museum dressed in period diving gear – even demonstrating bomb disposal.
said the event’s official blurb. As soon as the doors opened and the night darkened, the only light came from carefully placed glow sticks, the odd torch and the occasional ghostly apparitions of war-time divers telling their stories.
Is it just me or does he look a little bit like Captian Cutler from Scooby Doo? (By the way, if that got you feeling all nostalgic for Scooby and the Gang, you might enjoy this blog post). We even got to hear the story behind one of the real life inspirations for James Bond, one Lionel Crabb.
Don’t you just love a bit of nominative determinism? Anyway, Crabb had all sorts of aquatic adventures, but no one is really sure what happened to him. His final fate is an Official Secret.
The projections were a great touch, and the darkened space in the museum at night lent itself perfectly to this kind of thing.
Of course, there were lots of old diving suits too;
There was a volunteer wearing one of the older suits, the ones with the big ball helmet and the lead shoes. He didn’t really move around all that much but he was happily chatting away and answering questions.
Did you know that each diving shoe would weigh 9kg? Just imagine having 18 bags of sugar attached to your legs.
I’m still not entirely clear on how the divers wearing these suits would have resurfaced… would there be a ladder of some kind involved?
If you would like to visit the Diving Museum during the daylight, you can find their opening hours on their website.
If you would like a bit more diving-related fun; here are Tom Daley’s Speedos at the Museum of London.