• World famous Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car on display at Thinktank as part of family exhibition ‘Mechanical THINGS’, exploring the Adventures and Inventions from the World of Rowland Emett and beyond
• Santa brings festive cheer to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery as the Christmas grotto starts Saturday 3 December
The movie has been a staple of festive viewing for over 40 years, but now the people of the West Midlands can enjoy seeing the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car in all of its winged glory as part of the Christmas line-up from Birmingham Museums Trust.
The original car takes centre stage at Thinktank at Birmingham’s Millennium Point, as part of a new exhibition of charming and wonderful inventions being hosted at the Birmingham Science Museum from 1 December. The Mechanical THINGS exhibition showcases the famous automobile alongside Emett’s largest mechanical work, entitled ‘A quiet afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley’, which he created at the end of his career.
Emett, who was born in London, but lived in Birmingham in between the wars, created a whole host of marvellous contraptions for the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang film and advised on the world famous car.
The exhibition, which is on display for the festive season and into the New Year until 5 March, will also showcase an array other unique machines by other artists, many of which were inspired by Emett’s whimsical brilliance! As part of the playful exhibition, families will also be able to enjoy interactive kinetic art and exhibits from the MAD Museum (Mechanical Art and Design) in Stratford upon Avon and pieces from the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre Collection will also be on display.
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is much-loved by all generations and this exhibition is the perfect way to bring the Christmas magic to Thinktank this festive season,” comments Marketing Manager for Birmingham Museums Trust, Andrea Fox.
“Rowland Emett shows that the only limit to creating wonderful gadgets is your own imagination – and they have a timeless charm that appeals to visitors of any age. He was not only a celebrated cartoonist but a brilliant inventor, designer and engineer who brought his cartoons to life. The exhibition will show visitors the superb scale of his inventions and how he continues to influence us today.”
At Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the Christmas festivities also retain classic charm, with the return of Santa’s Grotto every weekend in December in the run-up to Christmas.
Like the museum, the modern tradition of Father Christmas was established in Victorian times, with the merging of the old English Father Christmas midwinter character merged with the Dutch St Nicholas tradition, including the idea of reindeer being used to help distribute gifts! Visitors to the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery grotto will leave with a smile on their face, and a gift and photo souvenir in their hand! The grotto runs from 11am to 3.00pm each Saturday and Sunday in December until 18th December.
The Edwardian Tearooms will also be offering festive fayre from 3 – 23 December with a Christmas-themed meal for those who cannot wait for Christmas day! For just £14.50 per person, diners will enjoy a three course Christmas feast to fill the belly and warm the spirit, featuring traditional turkey, Christmas pudding and mince pies! To book, call 0121 348 8082.
The ghosts of Christmases past present and future will also put in an appearance in a special showing of the Muppet Christmas Carol on Saturday 10 December – just £5 per person, with mulled wine and mince pies available to purchase as a seasonal alternative to fizzy pop and popcorn! Prebooking is essential. Book online .
Other events take place at many of Birmingham Museums Trust’s historic properties, including a Tudor Christmas at Blakesley Hall on 10 December, Georgian celebrations at Soho House and four centuries of celebrations are recreated in Aston Hall on 17 December. Sarehole Mill is running craft workshops on 22 December, and for those who leave gift buying until the very last minute, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter will open on Christmas Eve from 10.30am to 5.00pm.
For details of all events taking place at Birmingham Museums, please visit www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/whats-on