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. 


6 Oct 2017

Whitworth Wallis Artist in Residence Blog 2017 – Week Three

Week three of the residency at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery followed the continuation of the previous week’s data collecting and reflection. 

Building up the material in the studio space is proving useful, while also helping to grab the curiosity of any visitors passing through Gallery 15. Having a constant open studio exposes our research and development to the general public, a completely different dynamic to how we’ve worked before, yet you can see through their inquisitiveness that there is an interest there. That the narrative we are putting forward is beginning to grab the viewer’ attention, which in turn is pushing developments quickly as we begin to focus on final ideas. It has become a key element that is supporting our progress and process. Read More...

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29 Sep 2017

The making of a people’s museum – one gallery space at a time

Museums are a treasure chest, a hoard of objects brimming with multi-layered histories. 

Behind the glass panes of illuminated cases or hanging in frames in perfectly measured mathematical rows are collections that draw local art appreciators, inquisitive explorers and accidental walk-through the door-ers. Whether they’ve come to see the galleries housing the ancient Egyptian or the Modern European, the items in a museum exist as portals to the past; key holders to the personal stories of its makers, thinkers, creators and contributors. True, the modern age of technology has its own place in art galleries, providing an alternative expression of a concept or reflection on our current world, even allowing for online access to collections. But what about the tangible collections and objects not seen by the public eye, the ones that aren’t currently in the cases or on the walls? Read More...

28 Sep 2017

Beer with the Incas: a 500 year old Kero from Peru

Tucked away on the back staircase of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is a fascinating selection of ancient Peruvian artefacts which are part of a larger collection of items from the Ancient Americas. The particular object I would like to focus on is a wooden kero with incised and lacquered decoration.

A kero is a drinking vessel without handles that is wider at the top than at the base, gently curving upwards and outwards in a trumpet-like fashion. Keros were made by Andean cultures before and during Inca rule (1438 – 1532), and they continued being produced after the time of Spanish conquest. Read More...