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26 Feb 2018

Inspired by Aston Hall's Famous Long Gallery...

To celebrate Aston Hall’s 400th Birthday, Birmingham Museums Trust has commissioned a unique new product. The traditional umbrella has been inspired by Aston Hall’s famous Long Gallery. Details of the intricate flowing strap-work, on the ceiling of the Long Gallery, feature on the inside of the umbrella, so rainy days will be beautiful from now on…

Aston Hall is one of Birmingham’s hidden gems, which can be found in Aston Park. This magnificent Grade I Listed Jacobean mansion stands substantially unchanged. The Hall was one of the last great Jacobean houses to be built in England, and its history and architecture make it a nationally important heritage attraction. Built for Sir Thomas Holte, as a home, to display his hard earned wealth and newly purchased title of baronet, an aggressive assertion of social status and grandiose prosperity are visible throughout. Read More...

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22 Feb 2018

Volunteering as an Engagement Assistant

My name is Rosie and I am part of the volunteer team here at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. I first started volunteering in the Story Lab Exhibition, ‘The Past is Now: Birmingham and the British Empire’, back in October 2017.

My role as a volunteer in this exhibition was to encourage visitors to engage with the exhibitions exploration of the British Empire through conversation and written feedback. This was an amazing opportunity to talk to visitors about their perspective of the colonial narrative typically used to present its history, and whether they believed the exhibition challenged that. I had no idea that I would be engaging with visitors with stories of their own, who were really able to connect with the objects and art on display, and learn so much from our discussions. Read More...

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21 Feb 2018

Volunteering in Conservation Club

My name is Tabassum and I am currently in my final year of studying Ancient History and Archaeology at University. I first volunteered with Birmingham Museums as a Summer Activities Assistant in 2017, but because I enjoyed working with the museum so much I later applied to be part of the Conservation Club.

I chose to volunteer with Birmingham Museums as I wanted to gain some volunteering experience before leaving university. Whilst I was volunteering as a Summer Activities Assistant - a one week volunteering role over the summer holidays - I was given the opportunity to set up and move around the items on the object handling display table, meant for visitors to engage with. This was significant to me, as I have always wanted to work in a museum as a curator, but there are not always a lot of opportunities available for students to work in this environment. The role also involved approaching visitors to come and see the display table. This helped to boost my confidence and my people skills. I began the week with very little confidence and I left with a lot more confidence! Read More...

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20 Feb 2018

Volunteering as a Curator’s Assistant (Natural Science)

Hi, my name is Kelly and I have been volunteering as a Curator’s Assistant (Natural Science) at the Museum Collection Centre with the Natural Science Curator, Lukas, since October 2017. Alongside volunteering, I am studying for my Masters in Museum Studies with the University of Leicester, working at Sarehole Mill as a Museum Enabler, as well as creating taxidermy birds in my spare time.

I have an innate love for nature and natural history, so this role is the perfect fit! We are currently working on the “Dippy on Tour” project, which will see Dippy, the diplodocus skeleton cast from the London Natural History Museum,  touring around the UK. Birmingham is the second stop on the tour, and the exhibition will open in the Gas Hall in May 2018 and demonstrate how modern birds are the living relatives of dinosaurs, using a range of objects from the bird collection. Read More...

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19 Feb 2018

Student Volunteering Week 2018

It is that time of year again… National Student Volunteering Week! This is the week when we really celebrate all of our brilliant volunteer team members who are also busy studying whilst they support us.

To celebrate Student Volunteer Week we are announcing Birmingham Museums Student Volunteer of the Year for 2018. This year’s winner has volunteered with us for over a year and has really supported our Portable Antiquities Scheme by volunteering as an Archaeological Finds Recording Assistant. So congratulations to Aimee Hinds and a huge thank you from Birmingham Museums for all your time, effort and dedication to volunteering with us. We especially love this photograph of Aimee getting into character on a visit to another museum, definitely sums up her love of history! Read More...

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15 Feb 2018

“We heart colour!”: Young Talent in the West Midlands wanted for Inspire 2018

What an incredible Inspire 2017 we had – over 60 entries were seen by some 130,000 visitors during the summer! Inspire 2018 is back and bigger than ever, returning to our prestigious Bridge Gallery at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. We will be showcasing work submitted by children and young people aged 5-19 years old living in the West Midlands. The theme for this year’s competition is: We Heart Colour! 

We have hundreds of pounds of art vouchers to give away as prizes, and we need you!   Children and young people should submit their work to our panel of artists and curators to be in with a chance and share their art with our huge audience.   “We heart colour!” is inspired by artwork full of colour, emotion and stories, such as Gary Humes piece “Fragment of a rainbow IV” on loan from the Arts Council Collection, and An Ode to Christian Joy by Emily Sparkes. Read More...

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14 Feb 2018

Amongst the Neon and the Nudity

Tucked away in one of the booths, between the numerous depictions of the human form in all its variety, and the neon glow of Tracey Emin’s When I Think about Sex I Think about Men, Women Dogs, Lions, Group Sex (And I Love you All), Charlotte Prodger’s BRIDGIT has the potential to be overlooked. It is more often given a five minute head-around-the-curtain glance in passing, before you’re drawn to the alluring sound of yodelling from Isaac Julien’s The Long Road to Mazatlan. But BRIDGIT is captivating in its own way; when experienced you are transported into a personal and memorable archive on identity. For me, this has become one of the highlights of the Coming Out exhibition.

Titled after the Neolithic goddess associated with fertility and healing, BRIDGIT expresses the abstract process of time, and the loss of self we all feel at some point in life. The film transitions from the domestic privacy of the home, to the vast expanse of nature, in a slightly jarring yet engaging juxtaposition. Read More...

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9 Feb 2018

Dancing Girl by Marguerite Milward

This gorgeous sculpture from The Past Is Now: Birmingham and the British Empire  exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is equally beautiful and sad. It is one of many sculptures created by the Birmingham trained artist Marguerite Milward in her attempt to create a record of the various racial types she encountered when traveling across Africa and through India.

Read More...

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30 Jan 2018

Cleaning and Restoration of a 19th Century Frame

Birmingham Museum Trust’s collection contains approximately eight hundred gilt picture frames.

One such frame belongs to Dante Gabrielle Rossetti’s unfinished oil on canvas La Donna della Finestra, which was painted in 1881 and acquired by the museum in 1883. Read More...

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26 Jan 2018

Coming Out at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

“I’m a straight, white, cis male. What does this exhibition have to offer me?”

The question had been posed to us in the form of a training role play. Supposedly asked by a visitor of the museum staff, the question was also more or less the one that I had asked myself in the weeks running up to the launch of Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in December. I was sure there would be nothing to interest me in the exhibition. Read More...