Our venues


Photo bmag

World class museum in the heart of Birmingham city centre.

Chamberlain Square

Birmingham, B3 3DH

0121 348 8038

Photo thinktank

Award-winning science museum for fun-packed family days out.

Millennium Point, Curzon Street

Birmingham, B4 7XG

0121 348 8000

Photo aston

Explore the splendour of one of the last great houses built in the Jacobean style.

Trinity Road, Aston

Birmingham, B6 6JD

0121 348 8100

Photo blakesley

Discover a fine Tudor house and beautiful gardens just a few miles from the heart of the city.

Blakesley Road

Birmingham, B25 8RN

0121 348 8120

Photo jewellery

A perfectly preserved workshop in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter.

75-80 Vyse Street

Birmingham, B18 6HA

0121 348 8140

Photo sarehole

A 250 year old working watermill famous for its association with author J.R.R Tolkien.

Cole Bank Road

Birmingham, B13 0BD

0121 348 8160

Photo soho

Georgian home of the Birmingham industrialist, Matthew Boulton.

Soho Avenue (off Soho Road)

Birmingham, B18 5LB

0121 348 8150

Photo weoley

The ruins of an exquisite fortified manor house built 750 years ago.

Alwold Road

Birmingham, B29

0121 348 8160

5 Jun 2017

Volunteering with the Curators

Hi, I’m Claire and I have been volunteering for Birmingham Museums for close to three years in various ways; at Weoley Castle, Blakesley Hall and perhaps the most intriguing of which is as a Curator’s Assistant to the History Curator working with the Sound Archive at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Claire volunteering at Weoley Castle

The Sound Archive is somewhat of an unknown treasure, with over 1,400 recorded interviews from everyday Birmingham people! The collection began in the 1980s as an attempt to uncover the lives of the general public of Birmingham… an attempt that was wonderfully successful if you ask me. I have listened to the stories from Cadbury’s workers, to Caribbean immigrants, to button-makers. These people have taught me so much! For example, during the First World War, a reading book would be torn into its individual pages with children taking home one page each to read, as books were too hard to come by.

Cabinet containing the Sound Archive

I have not only enjoyed learning a lot about the past, but also about cataloguing data. Our role is to catalogue these interviews by listening to them, writing a transcript or summary, then data-basing information such as: key words and themes; date recorded and date period discussed; associations with people, places, events and organisations (which we then research further); and much more! This data will be used to update the internal database but we also then download these interviews as MP3 files (they are currently stored as CDs) and edit them (into 1 long track per interview, rather than 10 separate ones), before uploading them onto SoundCloud for free public access. We are just starting to get to a point where we can upload the interviews, along with key words and information, to Birmingham Museums SoundCloud account. It is so exciting and rewarding knowing that what we’ve spent months working on will make a difference and enable the public to enjoy these fascinating interviews as well!

Screen showing an audio interview

My particular favourite project has been on Bournville. I was first interested in it because, well, who doesn’t love Cadbury’s chocolate?! But it began a curiosity that expanded further than my taste-buds! The interviewees talk about the community atmosphere of Bournville, getting the train through the rural fields of Selly Oak, the tunes of the Carillon (some of which are sung to me!), and dancing out of work and into the centre on Armistice Day 1918. I am now buying books on the Cadburys (and more chocolate!) to develop this interest and it’s all thanks to the captivating interviewees and Birmingham Museums for allowing me to listen to them in the first place and preserve their invaluable insights.

If you are interested in volunteering for Birmingham Museums then take a look at the current volunteering opportunities we have available across all our sites.