On 1 November the Wallace Collection opened its doors to nearly 200 students for an evening of festivity and fun.
A Student Night was our chance to introduce a new audience to the Collection and share the beautiful works of art which have been left in our care. We decided to focus on students as they represent only a small segment of our visitors, and since many may in fact be new to London as well, a free Student Night seemed like a good opportunity to create some new Wallace fans!
To raise interest in our event we attended several Student Fairs, sent out leaflets to Student Unions and course leaders and then waited nervously. We needn’t have, as the emails started flooding in even before a planned social media campaign! We quickly reached the 250 person capacity for the event and even sadly had to turn some people away. We still, however, remained slightly anxious about numbers. Since it was a free event, a rainstorm or a particularly cold night might persuade everyone to stay indoors. However, as the opening sentence of this blog suggested, the perfect number of people turned up to make it a lively and successful evening.
When the doors opened at 6:30pm for the intimate after-hours experience guests were greeted by a great range of drop-in activities which they could enjoy throughout the evening. To flex the students’ creative skills we made the Education Studio into a workshop to decorate Venetian masks, inspired by our wonderful Canaletto and Guardi paintings, to take home as a souvenir.
For those wishing to know a bit more about the Collection we arranged for several highlight tours by our talented guides and special tours by Madame de Pompadour, all dressed up in her finery, focusing on her life and the works she patronised. Anyone wanting to get into the eighteenth-century party spirit could have period makeup applied by student make-up artists from Delamar Academy of Makeup. We were also able to call on Chocolate Films, a film production company who have made short films with us. They set up a time-lapse camera on the landing to film the evening and allow guests to share their thoughts. Chocolate Films also ran an animation workshop where students, using cut-outs of the artwork, could make their own stop motion animations.
It was not however all smooth sailing. We had booked our regular actress to portray Madame de Pompadour but disaster struck the night before as ‘La Pompadour’ was struck ill. Fortunately, our surprisingly talented Development Officer, whose dramatic and French skills were, at that time, unknown, stepped into the breach and delivered a fantastic performance as the mistress of Louis XV.
To continue to promote the Wallace Collection amongst this new audience we offered the opportunity to sign up as a Student Ambassador. This is not a new scheme, but as students reach the end of their courses and leave university it is one that needs regular updating! Previous Ambassadors have not only helped promote the Wallace Collection to new audiences using word of mouth, print and social media, but even curated their own large scale event. For our new Ambassadors, we have created a special programme involving special evening talks from our curators to give our students a deeper knowledge and understanding of the various different parts of the Collection, which we would love them to feel confident promoting for us.
I hope you have enjoyed this insight into the Press and Marketing team and some of our work with new audiences.
If you are interested in also becoming a Student Ambassador then please let us know by phoning 0207 563 9567 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.