6 Dec 2017

The Collection Support Trainee Diaries: Part 2

Hello again everyone! I’m back with part two of my Trainee Diaries. It’s been a few months since you last heard from me and there’s been many-a changes in that time. Mainly that my placement here at Birmingham Museums has now come to an end and while I’m very excited for my next steps, it’s not without sadness that I look back on my time here. I’ve loved it so much and I’m sorry to be leaving the great people and objects I’ve had the pleasure to work with. It doesn’t seem very fair that I should keep all the wonderful things I’ve learnt to myself. So, I thought for my parting blog, it would be nice to share some of the fantastic objects I’ve come across while doing various tasks here at the Museum Collections Centre and some things working with all these objects have taught me. Enjoy!


28 Nov 2017

Birmingham Trams - The Rise and Fall and Rise again

We currently have the Festival of Thinktank running here at Thinktank between November and February. As part of the festival I’ve enjoyed providing our audiences with amazing facts on the rise and fall and rise again of Birmingham trams. Along the way I will be providing you with some knowledge on our tram here on permanent display at Thinktank and how she came here. I shall also be explaining about a current tram called Ozzy Osborne! 

Let’s depart on our journey through time. Our story begins with the steam science that started things off. In 1774, James Watt improved the steam engine and the whole world took note. Watt protected his improved steam engine with a patent, which stopped other inventors copying his improvements made. Read More...

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24 Nov 2017

The making of our Teachers pack and educators preview day

In community learning, for practitioners I’d suggest there comes a moment when the decade you were educated in comes into sharp focus with the present. A dizzying self-realisation and shift of time when you compare a formative decade in your own life to now. That for me came recently working with my amazing colleague Angelica Vanasse at the Walker Gallery.

Together we have written a teachers / educators PHSE pack (personal, social, and health education). It’s a rich document that was a joy to write, covering aspects in young people’s learning such as equality, diversity, empathy and judgement. It carries with it a series of self-guided activities educators can do in the exhibition “Coming out – Sexuality, Gender and Identity ” that use some of the nation’s finest contemporary art as reference points. Read More...

20 Nov 2017

Coming Out Events

Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity is a major new exhibition which features over 80 modern and contemporary artworks by internationally renowned artists exploring the themes of gender, sexuality and identity in art. The exhibition includes art works by many well known artists and showcases artworks from The Arts Council Collection, National Museums Liverpool and Birmingham’s collection. 

The exhibition opens at 1pm on Saturday 2 Dec and is on until 15 Apr 2018. Read More...

15 Nov 2017

Launch of our new online shop

We are very excited to announce the launch of our new online shop! We have a fantastic range of unique gifts and souvenirs, catering to lots of interests and budgets, all inspired by the collection and venues at Birmingham Museums Trust. 

From Anglo-Saxon ducks, Thinktank Top Trumps cards to a William De Morgan designed mirror, shoppers are sure to find a unique present for their nearest and dearest. Read More...

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14 Nov 2017

The Coming Out Gallery Trail!

Amongst the many preparations for the Coming Out exhibition, I have been hard at work creating a separate Gallery Trail . This will enable visitors to explore the exhibition’s core themes of sexuality, gender and identity in artworks in Birmingham’s collection galleries. It will include major new acquisitions, contemporary art interventions and some of Birmingham’s best-loved masterpieces. Who can resist a great gallery trail right?

Finding out more about LGBT+ histories in Birmingham’s collection has been fascinating and has brought new artists and subjects to the fore. Leading up to the opening of the exhibition and gallery trail, in this blog I’ll be talking about some of the artworks and the stories that we will be including.  Read More...

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2 Nov 2017

Birmingham Manufactures – Chad Valley

If you are following the Birmingham Manufactures Project in twitter (@BrumMfr ) you may have noticed in the past couple of months that we have been looking at Chad Valley toys. I’m sure many of you will recognise that name from your own childhood, and if you have small children it will certainly be familiar! The company history is extensive, but here is a little about how they developed and some examples of Chad Valley in our collections!

The company was originally involved in printing, engraving, bookbinding and the production of stationery, starting life under the trading name of Messrs. Johnson Bros. Taking its name from its proprietors, it was started by Joseph Johnson who in his former years had worked for his father’s stationery company. In 1897, Joseph moved the company to Harborne, and his new factory was named the Chad Valley Works due to its close proximity to a stream called the Chad. Despite the name of the factory, Johnson’s company was trading as Johnson Bros. (Harborne) Ltd and didn’t change its name for a further 20 years or so. As well as still producing stationery, the company had also started production of a range of cardboard games. Read More...

20 Oct 2017

Creepy Cats and Flappy Bats

Halloween is fast approaching, so expect hoards of witches and skies full of bats, bubbling cauldrons, vampires and cats. Watch out for mummies and zombies and ghosts at your back. Collect lots of candy and spook out your friends, there’s lots in store before that frightful night ends!

At Thinktank, we have our spooky science week so come and join us for a scare fest! We have our Science of Fright show , spooky arts and crafts , hair raising science and we’re topping it off with our Spooky Science Night on the 28th of October.  Read More...

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19 Oct 2017

Half Term Family Fun - Get into the ‘spirit’ of Halloween at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Come along to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery for some Half Term family fun as we get into the ‘spirit’ of Halloween!

We will be holding make-and-take activities every day during the week, from brains in jars to fiendish drawbotz. Bring your little mummies, witches and vampires to the Monster Madness Party, perfect entertainment for 'dead' good dancers!  Read More...

17 Oct 2017

Whitworth Wallis Artist in Residence Blog 2017 – Week Four

The last week as resident artists in Gallery 15 began with a strong focus to achieve much as possible prior to the residencies end, and an event scheduled to mark the end of our time here. Continuing with the development of ideas, we used this week to begin concluding concepts, narrowing down and reflecting, so that we could begin to cement and solidify intentions going forward. Much progress has been made in a short period of time, with several ideas being to really take form and evolve, heading towards becoming ready for production, where through discussion we decided to continue only with what we felt were the strongest of these.