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Night at the Museum: Superstition

Friday, 13 September 2013, 6pm-9pm (doors open at 5.30pm)

A night at the Museum: Superstition. Live music, in-gallery DJ, lake-view bar, silent disco and hands-on-games.

Why do superstitions still exist in the modern age? Have you ever tried to ward off bad luck by 'touching wood' or wearing a charm?

This Friday the 13th of September, come to the National Museum after dark, challenge your superstitions and test your luck. The Museum will come alive with music, film, food and festivities exclusively for adults. There's a silent disco, live DJs and a cocktail lounge in our cafe.

If competition is your thing, register a team to compete in a tournament of the minds. Experience the Museum in a completely new way with The Museum Game. We supply the gear, you supply the brainpower. Prizes to be won.

Ticket information

Over 18s only

Buy tickets online through Eventbrite

$10 entry

$60 to register a team of 4 (includes entry)

Free entry for Friends of the National Museum

$40 to register a team of Friends of the National Museum

Why superstition?

Let’s be honest, Friday, 13 September seemed like a good day on our calendar to open up after dark – we didn’t have anything else on. So we thought it might be fun to explore the concept of 'superstition'. Our next step was to search through our collection. As a social history museum, what did we have on offer that explored what superstition is and why our society follows such beliefs? It turns out the Museum’s collection is full of items that represent these beliefs and practices. One such item, a poster from 1949, read:

How do you explain the survival of these practices among educated people? DO people really believe in the superstitions, or are they prompted by habit or sub-conscious fears? Why do many who scoff at superstition still feel uneasy if they occupy Room 13 or walk under a ladder?

And we were sold.

Quiz: Superstitious or a skeptic?

Does crossing your fingers help your wish come true? Has garlic successfully protected you from vampires? Do you think it's all a load of hogwash? Take our short quiz to see whether you're super superstitious or a skeptic!

Take the quiz now!

  • Scored super superstitious? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter #superstitious



Pocket Fox
Pocket Fox. Photo courtesy of Pocket Fox.

There will be a range of exciting, local live music playing on the night. As you stroll around the Museum, or compete whole-heartedly in the Museum Game, you’ll hear the funky beats being spun by DJ Degg Gordon in our permanent galleries.

In our Hall you’ll find Pocket Fox playing their lively tunes. Check them out on the Triple J website.

Want to have a drink and listen to some new music? Playing in our cocktail lounge for the night will be a fusion mix of Brenton K, Mr Michael, Yohan Strauss and Xavier Dunn.

The Museum Cafe cocktail lounge

Want to drink margaritas, eat tacos and take in some of the best views in Canberra? We will be turning our cafe into Canberra's newest cocktail lounge.

Superstition challenge

Would you open an umbrella inside? Walk under a ladder? How about risk seven years of bad luck by smashing a mirror? Take the Superstition challenge and put your superstitions to the test. You may be surprised what you're not willing to do!

Lucky charms

How to ward off all this bad luck you are tempting … with a lucky charm of course! Create your own luck using materials from our craft trolley. Be creative and protect yourself!

Silent disco

Playing your favourite superstition tracks by the bay window in our Hall for this disco with a twist.

Remote into a Robot

Can't be bothered going into the galleries? That's okay, you can watch with a drink in hand from the comfort of the Hall. All thanks to our Robots. Yes, Robots. Defying superstition with tremendous science and logic, our Robots will be roaming around the galleries and you can tune in from a Robot station near you.

100 years of superstition

It is still Canberra's centenary year so mosey on into our exhibition Glorious Days: Australia 1913 and hear from one of our curators about what was happening 100 years ago, including what kept society awake way back when.

Palace Electric Cinema

Kick on with a cocktail at Palace Electric’s Prosecco Bar

Our friends at Palace are opening their doors to keep the night going at Palace Electric’s Prosecco Bar.

As well as a great atmosphere, they are getting their in-house mixologist to mix together a little magic to make a ‘Lucky Charm’ cocktail that will delight your tastebuds and ward off any superstitions.

Compete in The Museum Game

Come on a group adventure within our galleries. Armed with an iPad, your team will play The Museum Game. It's about exploring the world through similarity, making connections between the objects on display. Be surprising; take a creative leap. Most importantly, be interesting to your competitors – that's how you win.

How to play

  • Find your most creative friends and make a team (up to four players)
  • Register online through Eventbrite 
  • Come to Night at the Museum: Superstition
  • Grab one of the National Museum's iPads
  • Take a team photograph and give yourselves a name
  • Turn the key
  • Enter the game
  • Make connections
  • Win

A Baker


Two before ten - cafe and coffee roasters


There are great prizes on offer: win the game and let us shout your next night out – dinner and drinks at some of Canberra’s newest hot spots are among the prizes up for grabs on the night.

Tips and tricks

  • Think about an object’s attributes – composition, shape, colour, use, provenance, and then try to match it with another
  • Make relevant – but creative – connections; the more outlandish the better!
  • Come and visit the galleries, get to know your way around – this will just make you faster!


To keep our iPads secure, a credit card imprint will be required prior to competing in the tournament. We will let you decide which player hands over the card on the night.

Stay updated

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter #superstitious

How to get here

Parking is limited at the Museum, so consider these alternatives when planning your evening:

  • walking (ANU and Civic are a stone’s throw away)
  • riding your bike
  • hitching a ride on a broomstick
  • catching a bus.

Public buses

Action buses are a convenient way to get to the Museum for this night. The number 7 bus comes straight to our door, and the number 3 will drop you off at University House – a short stroll down to the peninsula. These buses do not run late, so check their website when you are planning your trip.

If you must drive, car-pool with friends!

Conditions of entry

  • This is an 18+ event. Proof of age will be required at the door
  • Tickets are non-refundable, pass outs will be available
  • Food and drinks are not permitted in the galleries


The National Museum of Australia takes no responsibility for any bad luck that you may encounter following Night at the Museum: Superstition. Participating in the superstition challenge and other activities is entirely at your own risk. We hear that if you turn around seven times you can reverse your bad luck – give that a try.