17 Feb 2019

Volunteering as a Heritage Interpreter at Sarehole Mill

Hello - my name is Elinor and I volunteer as a Heritage Interpreter at Sarehole Mill. I have been volunteering there since I was an undergraduate creative writing student at the University of Birmingham; I am now completing an MA at the Shakespeare Institute, and still enjoy spending my time at Sarehole.

Despite being right in the heart of the city, Sarehole Mill is a green idyll which preserves the rural heritage which preceded Birmingham’s better-known industrial past. Walking across the courtyard, through the Mill, or around the mill pool, you experience a little of what the young Ronald Tolkien must have felt in this, his childhood playground. Read More...

15 Feb 2019

Volunteering on Birmingham Heritage Week

Volunteering is beneficial to the busy life of a student for a number of reasons; the flexible hours, a much-needed break from studying and the development of those all-important skills needed to impress future employers. Therefore, after finishing my first year of university and with the long summer break looming, I decided to gain as much experience as possible in my spare time.

When the opportunity arose to volunteer on a slightly more unusual Birmingham Museums Trust project, I jumped at the chance. What I wasn’t expecting was to become so immersed in the work that when the project ended I felt incredibly proud to have been part of this unique and rewarding experience. Read More...

13 Feb 2019

Volunteering Behind the Scenes

Hello, my name is Emily and I am currently studying for my Masters in Antiquity following the Classical Archaeology pathway at the University of Birmingham. I began volunteering for the Conservation Club in October 2018, and loved it so much that I took on a second volunteering role as an Archaeological Finds Recording Assistant in January 2019.

As a member of the volunteer Conservation Club I am given the opportunity to visit five of the heritage sites within the Birmingham Museums Trust as well as the Museum Collection Centre. We give each of the sites a top to bottom deep clean to help with the conservation of the building and the objects within it. Conservation is an aspect of the museum world that has always fascinated me, so it is a lot of fun being able to see what goes into preventing things from being damaged. Also, being able to handle the artefacts visitors aren’t allowed to is pretty neat. Read More...

11 Feb 2019

Student Volunteering Week 2019

Whenever February comes around the corner I always get excited about National Student Volunteering Week! This is the week of the year when we really shout out about all those brilliant members of our volunteer team who are busy doing lots of studying too.

To celebrate Student Volunteering Week each year we announce Birmingham Museums Trust’s Student Volunteer of the Year. The 2019 winner has volunteered with us for two years as a Heritage Interpreter at Sarehole Mill. So huge congratulations to Elinor Cole and a huge thank you from all of us here at Birmingham Museums for your time, passion and dedication to volunteering with us.  Read More...

5 Feb 2019

Inspire 19 Now Open!

This is the fourth year of our Inspire youth art competition for 5-19 year olds. In 2018 we received 401 entries, the most so far! We can’t wait to see what the young artists of the region create next!

This year the competition takes its inspiration from Blakesley Hall, the former home of many Birmingham families. We want to know: Read More...

10 Jan 2019

Community Garden at Blakesley Hall

Did you know there is now a community garden at Blakesley Hall? The initial idea emerged from an audience development review taken in October 2017.It was hoped such a project would widen the participation of local community groups. As the garden progressed, organisations such as the Toybox Nursery, West Midlands Police, Prince’s Trust, and Riverside Education became involved.

In March 2018 raised garden beds were financed and constructed by the Prince’s Trust working with local disadvantaged teenagers.  Read More...

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18 Dec 2018

Meet the the Jeweller in Residence

After the excitement of being appointed “Jeweller in Residence” at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter the size of the task to design a range for this amazing place meant my feelings of excitement were also joined by nerves! However, I can confirm I have thoroughly enjoyed the process.

I made the decision to use this privileged opportunity, of exploring the museum, to design my range from scratch, rather than develop my competition entry. On my first few visits I immersed myself in the history by attending some of the fantastic tours which sparked lots of design ideas to explore. A highlight has been having a look through one of Smith & Pepper’s original sketchbooks filled with design drawings - absolutely exquisite! Read More...

17 Dec 2018

Surprising Reindeer Facts!

You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer, and Vixen; Comet, and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen, and you certainly know Rudolph as well – but do you know that these most famous reindeer might actually be females?

Reindeer are the only species of deer where both the males and females have antlers. They are used for battling other Reindeer in the fight for food and mates. Male Reindeer lose their antlers every winter, whereas the females keep theirs until the spring so that they can challenge other females for food while they’re pregnant. A fully grown bull (the male of the species) usually grows to around 3 or 4-foot-high and can weigh up to 28 and a half stone (400 lbs). The cows (females) are a little smaller. Read More...

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31 Oct 2018

Armistice Day Dress

2018 marks 100 years since the end of the First World War making this year’s Armistice Day even more poignant. As organisations and individuals across the country prepare to mark this significant occasion we turned, as museums do, to our collection.

During the past four years of commemorations Birmingham Museums has hosted a number of fantastic exhibitions exploring topics such as the role of Muslim Soldiers, local regiments, individual families and local trade. Read More...

22 Oct 2018

Pangolins: The World's Most Illegally Traded Mammal

Head into the Wildlife Gallery at Thinktank and you will find some wonderful examples of animal life. There is a leopard, a peacock and even a Triceratops skull! You will also find on display a very special animal called a Pangolin.

Pangolins (or scaly anteaters) are mammals which live in Africa and Asia. They have scales on their skin making them look a little like a pine cone or a globe artichoke. They are the only mammals which have this adaptation. Pangolin scales are made of keratin, just like our finger nails, and are attached to muscles under the skin. If threatened, the pangolin rolls into a tight ball. This presents its armoured scales to any potential predator, and also protects the soft parts of its body. Read More...