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Ahead of Science Museum Lates' 10th birthday celebrations, Cultural Events Manager Scott McKenzie-Cook looks back at some of the highlights from the past decade.

10 years ago this month we held our first ever Lates. The theme had a Japanese twist inspired by an exhibition at the museum on Japanese cars. For the museum running a series of evening events aimed at adults was a new concept, and we had a conservative goal of just 500 visitors. But, as the Japanese drummers took their place and started to play the doors opened to a sea of visitors. That evening we welcomed almost 2,000 Lates-goers and there was no looking back.

September 2008 marked our first ever Lates with dedicated events for a young, cool and fun adult audience, and now we’ve had over 100 Lates on a wide range of themes. Here are my top five from over the years:

Zombie Lab – January 2013

Visitors and actors dressed as Zombies at Zombie Lates, January 2013
Visitors and actors dressed as Zombies at Zombie Lates, January 2013

Zombies took over the museum at this Lates as we explored the science of consciousness. We encouraged visitors to come dressed as a member of the un-dead as well as recruiting some keen  drama students to roam around as zombies. We had events looking at hoard mentality, how to diagnose a zombie and a mock trial looking at zombie ethics. We also taught visitors to perform the iconic dance from Michael Jackson’s Thriller and had a competition for the best costume.

Space Fashion Lates – May 2016

Catwalk show for "Couture In Orbit: when space and fashion collide" at Space Fashion Lates, May 2016
Catwalk show for “Couture In Orbit: when space and fashion collide” at Space Fashion Lates, May 2016

We hosted our very first space-inspired fashion show, ‘Couture in Orbit’, with the European Space Agency and five fashion schools from across Europe. The show displayed works from the brightest young fashion minds, inspired by technology and fabrics relating to space travel. Visitors also met researchers who work in the Antarctic testing suits that will be worn in outer space and discovered the different types of food astronauts eat during their missions.

Contagion Lates – October 2016

will.i.am, Bill Gates and Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands at Contagion Lates, October 2016
will.i.am, Bill Gates and Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands at Contagion Lates, October 2016

This was a collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as we investigated the deadliest diseases facing the world today. We created zones where we explored malaria, ebola, polio, zika and HIV. We were also joined by Bill Gates himself as well as will.i.am to discuss some of the biggest challenges facing the world today. A highlight was  the pop-up Ebola Treatment Centre where visitors could practice the life saving techniques used by experts.

Illuminating india Lates – November 2017

Rajasthani Folk Dancing in Information Age during Illuminating India Lates - November 2017
Rajasthani Folk Dancing in Information Age during Illuminating India Lates – November 2017

As part of our Illuminating India season, we filled the museum with music and dance. There was Bhangra in Energy Hall, Bharatanatyam dancers in Making the Modern World, Rajasthani folk dancing in Information Age and Garba outside Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery. Our Silent Disco was taken over by DJ and musician Wondergupta, there were talks from eminent Indian Scientists and even a Bollywood Motown fusion band.

Pride Lates – June 2018

Performer singing at Pride Lates, June 2018
Performer singing at Pride Lates, June 2018

This June we teamed up with Pride in London for the second year in a row to curate an LGBTQ+ inspired extravaganza. We were joined by drag kings and queens and a host of performers including the Pink Singers, as well as drag make-up masterclasses and a drag contest. It also provided a wonderful opportunity to welcome scientists and researchers from the LGBTQ+ community.

Looking ahead to the next few years, we have some great themes for Lates including Year of Engineering, The Sun, China and The Last Tsar.

Come join us on Wednesday 26 September from 18.45-22.00 for our tenth birthday party. Find out more.