11 Mar 2019

The Brain

Our brains are wrinkly, weigh about three pounds and are approximately fifteen centimetres in length. Size wise your brain is slightly bigger than your two fists. But how big are the brains of other animals?

Can you really have a brain the size of a pea? Read More...

4 Mar 2019

Thinktank Open Weekends

Thinktank, Birmingham’s Science Museum, is home to thousands of objects and interactives across four floors, covering science and technology topics from the steam engines of the past to the robots of the future. 2018 was a very exciting year for Thinktank, as we saw the completion of a three-year project to restore the Smethwick engine (the oldest working steam engine in the world) as well as an exhibition celebrating pioneering female engineers, and the always popular Spooky Science week at Halloween.

At Birmingham Museums, we are committed to ensuring everyone in the city has opportunities to access these amazing collections and events, and so for more than ten years, we’ve been running a series of ‘Thinktank Open’ events, where we offer free entry to visitors from communities local to the museum. Every year we run two Open events, targeting different areas each time. Read More...

19 Feb 2019

She Sells Seashells by the Seashore

This tongue-twisting line of verse is something most people will remember from their childhood. Most people will remember it for being infuriatingly difficult to say, especially fast, but the verse itself has been claimed to be about palaeontologist, Mary Anning, who amongst other things discovered the Ichthyosaur. 

Mary Anning, along with her brother, collected and sold fossils (or, as the verse refers to them ‘seashells’), hence the verse. She made many important discoveries during the first half of the nineteenth century, despite her exclusion from many scientific circles due to her sex. Discoveries like hers were what helped begin the Victorian fascination, which is no less rife today, with the prehistoric. Read More...

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...