I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me I would get to spend the night at a museum, but that’s precisely what I did recently. On the 25th June, the Museum of The Home invited us along to the launch of their upcoming Festival of Sleep. An exhibition exploring our understanding and experience of sleep and rest and how it has changed over time and across cultures. Festival of Sleep will also explore how homelessness, ill health and domestic violence affect our sleep and dreams.
This pyjama party was a house party like no other. My friend and I arrived at the Museum of the Home at 6pm, when the sun was slowly setting, bathing the museum in golden sunlight. The dress code for this particular night was obviously pyjamas. The staff wore the most gorgeous pyjamas, with colourful hand-painted British prints by Cath Kidston.
When we entered the museum, we were greeted with dreamy cocktails, lemonade and a live band playing jazzy lullabies. We immediately set about exploring the beautiful gift shop that sells everything you might need for your home. Like my friend said, it was one of the most excellent gift shops she’d ever been to, offering kitchen kitsch and vintage textiles.
Our first agenda item for the evening was making the perfect sleep balm. The places were limited and sought-after, so we quickly secured our spots. The lovely founder of LIHA Beauty, a small East London business, explained and demonstrated everything we needed to know. As her mother is an English aromatherapist, she was able to answer all our questions about the essential oils. We then created our balm by mixing all the ingredients together: Nigerian shea butter and coconut oil, together with the essential oils we’d chosen (I went for lavender, rose and juniper berry) – I’ve been using the balm ever since.
We had time to explore the other events and the museum itself. The museum’s curators have re-styled the famous Rooms Through Time galleries to explore remedies, potions, folklore, traditions, social norms, myths, and magic connection to sleep through the last 400 years. The Museum Reading Room had been transformed into My Beautiful Georgian twisted Fantasy, an imagined bedroom of dreams for British West Indian Heiress Dido Belle, who lived at Kenwood House. Art installations will engage visitors with the experience of hidden abuse, trauma and the aftermath. Walking through the museum after-hours was a fantastic Night at the Museum experience – sadly none of the exhibits came to life. You can’t have everything, I guess.
Our last stop was the silent disco, a new experience for me. We got to choose between Pop and Dance. I must admit, seeing everyone dance and party while it was completely quiet seemed odd, but once your headphones are on, the party starts and there’s no stopping!
The Festival of Sleep runs from the 25 June to 2 October 2022.
Festival of Sleep will work together with Behind the Door, an organisation bringing together 25 charities working to support homeless people.
Where? Museum of the Home, 136 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8EA
Tag us with your copy of Beast magazine @beastmag_london on Instagram