‘Twilight at the Museums: Sounds of Steam’ at Cambridge Museum of Technology CB5 8LD

Historyworks partnered with Cambridge Museum of Technology to host an exciting new event on Wednesday 17th February, as part of the National “Twilight at the Musuems” initiative, which invites the public to explore museum spaces during the evening.

Members of the public had the opportunity to explore the atmospheric spaces by torchlight and experience the museum spaces with sound installations produced by Historyworks, projected films made by Cambridge artists and co-created with children from local schools, music performances including new songs about the history of the pumping station by CBBC’s Horrible Histories songwriters, as well as some hands-on activities in the Spackman Education Room.


As part of the event Historyworks created a new sound-installation that brought different parts of the Victorian pumping station alive and encouraged members of the public to explore the site in a truly unique way. The sound-installation featured local choirs and primary school singers, who were recorded creating interesting sounds at a number of workshops, which was then edited by sound-designer, Jon Calver. Children enjoyed getting their torches out and following the sounds to discover the hidden nooks and crannies of the pumping station throughout the evening!


However the highlight of the event was the children’s ‘Singing History’ performance, with children from Abbey Meadows, St. Philip’s, Milton CE and St. Matthew’s primary schools joining to form a mass choir for the event, singing a variety of ‘Singing History’ songs composed by CBBC Horrible Histories writer, Dave Cohen and Historyworks. The children led members of the public in a mass ‘sing-along’, including singing songs about the history of the Pumping Station, and the terrible living conditions in the Victorian Era, such as ‘Dirty River Cam in Queen Vic’s Time’  and ‘Water of Life’. A firm favourite was ‘What Shall We Do with the Drinking Water?’ to the tune of ‘What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor?’ which was sung with great enthusiasm. Over 400 people joined in singing in the rain, in true British style, with waterproofs on and brollies in hands!


Before and after the singing there was also the opportunity for kids (and big kids!) to visit the Spackman Education Room to engage in a number of exciting activities, including creating balloon powered wagons, singing and body/junk percussion workshops, creating coats of arms and art inspired by local history stories with Rosie Sharkey - Education Officer at Great St. Mary’s Church and seeing an electric racing car, created by the University of Cambridge Eco Racing Team!


The pop-up foodPark also organised The Wandering Yak, Holy Schnitzel and Fired Up Pizza coming to the event, who provided a variety of delicious dishes, including child-friendly portions, throughout the evening, which were a real hit with the public.

We had an extremely busy, but fantastic time at Cambridge Museum of Technology with over 800 people attending the event- thanks so much for having us and to all involved for making it such a success!  


‘Twilight at the Museums: Sounds of Steam’ at Cambridge Museum of Technology CB5 8LD