19 Sep 2017

Volunteering with Birmingham Manufactures

Three hundred words (or so) on our week as Summer Research Assistants for the Birmingham Manufacturers Project.

Armed with subject files of photographs, a scanner, and an Apple Mac we set to work to see what exactly you could learn in just a week on the project.  Read More...

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14 Sep 2017

Remember a Charity Week: Stanley Sellers’ Legacy

As part of Remember a Charity Week, we are celebrating some of the amazing, generous gifts in Wills which have been left to Birmingham Museums by supporters. Whether it’s helping us conserve the collection or educate and engage people of all ages, gifts in wills can have a significant impact on our charity.

If you have visited the Museum & Art Gallery, you will almost certainly have seen the display of 20th-century British studio ceramics, which were collected by Birmingham-born Stanley Sellers (1933-2013) who worked as an architect in the city for more than 30 years. Read More...

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31 Aug 2017

Whitworth Wallis Artist in Residence Blog 2017 – Week Two

The studio, Gallery 15, is quickly becoming a hive for creativity and discussion. Now open almost constantly to the public, it is evident that our initial research and place within the museum’s collection are beginning to gain momentum. Ideas are flowing and documentation of the space is really feeding into that. The beginning of the week involved layering up that documentation and research, building a foundation from which we will continue our investigation, the hidden collection of Birmingham’s museum and art gallery. We decided to use the studio space as a ‘live’ sketchbook, one constantly in flux with movement. 


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29 Aug 2017

A Queer day indeed

Working in community engagement with arts, poignant and moving are words I encounter quite a bit. They more than aptly describe my day in Liverpool to have a preview of the latest exhibition “Coming Out”.


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23 Aug 2017

Collecting Paradise: Memories of Birmingham Central Library

In June, Birmingham Museum’s Collecting Birmingham Team met in the lounge of the Wellington Pub to collect memories of Birmingham city centre’s now demolished Paradise Forum complex, including the iconic Central Library.

The event was publicised through social media and by specifically contacting those with a particular interest in the building. Part of the evening involved reflection on memories of the library, as well as asking attendees’ opinions on two objects from the library that the museum was looking to acquire. Read More...

18 Aug 2017

Whitworth Wallis Artist in Residence Blog 2017 – Week One

The scene is set. Gallery 15 of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery will be the base for our next four weeks as Whitworth Wallis Artists in Residence, becoming the pinpoint of our research and development, embedded within the amazing collections that will surround us. As Artists in Residence, a wording that is full of potential and possibility, we began the week becoming accustomed to the interior spaces and meeting the staff members who run it. After briefings on fire, health & safety and technical procedures we set up our working space, soon to be filled with ideas, research and investigation. A setting of our new collaborative practice, working together for the first time.

The studio is located in the middle of the museum, squeezed between Edward Burne-Jones and the 18th & 19th Century Art exhibitions, an ideal central space that will become a hub for activity and experimentation, open to the public through its two pairs of large and beautiful doors. Its ambience drove us to document the space. Read More...

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17 Aug 2017

Destination Moon

We currently have Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon on display until Sunday 20th August which has been incredible popular with visitors. I’ve enjoyed providing our audiences with amazing moon facts and decided to share a blog with everybody too, so why not have a read? 

Before the Moon facts let me share some info with you on Museum of the Moon. Read More...

16 Aug 2017

Visit to The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, to see the exhibition ‘Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity’

It’s a rainy Thursday morning and I’m racing to get the coach to Liverpool! I’m in great company with some of our museum staff and members of two LGBT groups we have been working with – Unmuted and Ageing Better. We’re off to see the first incarnation of a wonderful exhibition called 'Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity' and I have been working on the Birmingham showing of this exhibition when it opens in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s Gas Hall on December 2nd. 

It is also a very poignant day because Thursday July 27th 2017 marks exactly 50 years since the partial de-criminalisation of male homosexual acts in England and Wales (The Sexual Offences Act, 1967). There is an air of excitement and anticipation on the coach as we battle traffic and rain to get to Liverpool.  Read More...

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9 Aug 2017

Thinktank Museum of the Moon Photo Competition

Share your best moon silhouette photo to be in with the chance of winning a Adult, Child or Concession Membership Plus for Birmingham Museums!

Use the hashtag #MuseumOfTheMoon and tag us @ThinktankMuseum. Entries will be accepted on Facebook , Twitter  and Instagram . Read More...

4 Aug 2017

Birmingham Manufactures: Women’s Work at Elkington & Co.

It might not look like much, but this box of tools offers an important insight into women’s work in Birmingham at the start of the twentieth century. The tools pictures here are part of a much larger collection of tools donated to the museum in 1972, and were used for burnishing – which is a bit like polishing – and was a vital part of the manufacturing process for a variety of metals.

Tools like this were used to push the rough surface of an unfinished metal surface into alignment, and create the smooth polished shiny surface of the metal products Birmingham was known for. The tops of these tools are made of agate, a semi-precious stone which was used because it is extremely smooth and hard wearing. These were expensive to buy, and because every burnisher was expected to own their own tools, they were often passed down through the family. Read More...