Ever wondered what happens at a museum when the doors close to the public?
Children at a Sheffield primary school discovered just that when they were among the first people to spend a night at a city museum.
History came to life for pupils from Mundella Primary School in Woodseats who enjoyed a sleep-over at Weston Park Museum in the city centre.
The year four youngsters took part in a range of museum and craft activities before rolling out their sleeping bags and bedding down for the night in the museum’s What on Earth section.
They took part in embalming Egyptian mummies, castle building sessions to develop teamwork and had the chance to make a Bentley Grange helmet.
Children were also led on a torch-lit tour around the museum and discovered more about the exhibits on display.
The evening then took a more relaxed turn when pupils settled down to watch Hollywood blockbuster Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, the third instalment in the Night at the Museum series.
Dave Smith, assistant headteacher at Mundella Primary, said the pupils thoroughly enjoyed their experience.
He said: “We have had a fantastic experience with our sleep-over during Saturday evening.
“It was very well organised by the museum staff, who also stayed with us and ran the activities - embalming the mummies, castle building and Bentley Grange helmet making, before watching the DVD Night at the Museum.
“We were even sent a good luck message via Twitter from one of the stars of the film, Patrick Gallagher.
“We then slept in the What on Earth section of the museum in our sleeping bags under the watchful eye of the animals.
“The whole event was a fantastic experience for both staff and children alike.”
The Weston Park Museum sleep-overs cater for pre-organised groups of between 40 and 80 children, and they usually take place on a Saturday night.
Museum staff provide a range of museum and craft activities - including film showings, a torch lit tour and helmet making and Egyptian embalming.
Staff are happy to run a more specific activity if schools prefer to tie in with a certain project or syllabus that the children are studying.
Groups can choose which area of the museum they want to sleep in - whether this is one of the gallery spaces or activity rooms.
Children bring along their own sleep equipment and enjoy a delicious breakfast once they have woken up in their unusual surroundings.
Rosie Eagleton, events producer at Museum Sheffield, said the sleep-overs have become a big hit with youngsters.
She said: “Our sleepovers are a really unique way to experience Weston Park.
“The museum is a big hit with younger visitors and being able to explore after hours is a real adventure.
“As well as touring the museum by torchlight, we have loads of creative activities for groups to take part in.
“And most importantly, there’s a chance to nod off under the giant Chatsworth tree - and if they listen carefully, our sleepover guests might just hear Spike the Woolly Rhino snoring.”
n To find out more visit www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/museums/hire/museum-sleepover-packages