14 Jan 2020

Cut, Copy, Remix: Call for Artists

In April 2020 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Black Hole Club and Cold War Steve will be coming together to explore the creative potential of Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource Birmingham Museums Trust is the only collection in the UK that is making all out-of-copyright artworks available for free under a Creative Commons Zero License (CC0). 

The collection is one of the city’s greatest cultural assets and a priceless resource for learning, engagement and creativity. It consists of around 800,000 objects, displayed and stored in Birmingham Museums Trust’s nine venues. Over 3500 of these objects are now available as free digital images, with more being added every week. Read More...

6 Jan 2020

Win a Pre-Raphaelite Afternoon Tea for Two

With Christmas out of the way we are starting the new year by offering you a special treat, you can win our Pre-Raphaelite themed Afternoon Tea for two at the Edwardian Tearooms. 

Launched as part of the Edwardian Tearooms' winter menu, the Pre-Raphaelite Afternoon Tea features: a selection of Italian-inspired finger sandwiches, open sandwiches, sun blush tomato & basil tart, antipasti brochette, meringue and cakes. It’s sure to temp your taste buds!  Read More...

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17 Dec 2019

Volunteer Views: Visitors to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Hello everybody. This is my third blog and with a slightly different theme it is devoted to the interesting things people say while I am volunteering at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

While volunteering, I came across a visitor speaking to a colleague because she couldn't find King Feisal. She was very anxious because she believed that he "had gone". I thought I would see what I could do to find him.  Read More...

11 Nov 2019

Birmingham Revolutions – Power to the People

“Power in the hand of ignorance, is an edge-tool of the most dangerous kind.” – William Hutton, Birmingham Historian (1781).

From the Priestley Riots of 1791 all the way through to the LGBTQ+ campaigns of today, the ‘Birmingham Revolutions – Power to the People’ exhibition is a chance to discover the different voices and ideas that have contributed to the fight for a better Birmingham.  Read More...

8 Nov 2019

Volunteers Create New Unicorn Trail

During October half term we launched a new trail at Aston Hall, a unicorn pincushion trail. This project was extra special because a team of volunteers spent months lovingly creating these beautiful objects for display.

Our volunteer Historic Needlework Group started this project in the spring of 2019, building on their last project which created amazing embroidered squirrel bunting for the Stable Yard Café at Aston Hall. This year they have again been meeting once a week in the Great Dining Room at Aston Hall to work on their unicorn pincushions and to share their skills with visitors. Read More...

6 Nov 2019

Sharing our heritage with the world - first stop China

University of Birmingham student, Jessie Guo volunteered at Birmingham Museums as a China Tourism Research Assistant. Jessie’s role was look at what we already offered to visitors from China and what we needed to do to make our Historic Properties more welcoming to these visitors.

 As well as researching where Birmingham Museums had a presence on Chinese digital platforms, Jessie carried out some translation work at The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter where we have a high proportion of Chinese Visitors.  Read More...

4 Nov 2019

Revealing Lost Masterpieces at Birmingham Museums

Regular viewers of BBC Four’s Britain’s Lost Masterpieces will know that the programme has featured some dramatic discoveries. A Rubens in Glasgow, a possible Raphael in Sussex, a likely Rembrandt in Devon…. So it was with some excitement that I opened an email last autumn from Dr Bendor Grosvenor, asking if he could come and look at some pictures in store here at Birmingham Museums.

Britain’s Lost Masterpieces is now in its fourth series. Each week, art historian Bendor and social historian Emma Dabiri visit public collections in search of important pictures which have been overlooked or misattributed. Through a process of research, scientific analysis, and cleaning and conservation, the paintings and their histories are gradually revealed. Read More...

28 Oct 2019

Quoth the raven

In European legends and myths, crows and ravens are the harbingers of doom and companions to witches and others who practice black magic. In Celtic mythology, the warrior goddess known as The Morrígan often appears in the form of a crow/raven or accompanied by a group of them. While in Norse mythology, Huginn (meaning thought) and Muninn (meaning "memory) are a pair of ravens that fly all over the world, bring information to the god Odin. However, even without all this crows and ravens are amazing birds.

When it comes to intelligence, these birds rate up there with chimpanzees and dolphins. In one logic test, the raven had to get a hanging piece of food by pulling up a bit of the string, anchoring it with its claw, and repeating until the food was in reach. Many ravens got the food on the first try, some within 30 seconds. In the wild, ravens have pushed rocks on people to keep them from climbing to their nests, stolen fish by pulling anglers’ line out of ice holes, and played dead beside a beaver carcass to scare other ravens away from a delicious feast. If a raven knows another raven is watching it hide its food, it will pretend to put the food in one place while really hiding it in another. Since the other ravens are smart too, this only works sometimes. Read More...

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23 Oct 2019

Volunteer Selection: Corporation Street, Joseph E. Southall

Hello everyone, this is my second choice of artwork for my monthly blogs and another favourite.

I climb the steps from the Chamberlain Square entrance to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and breathless after 40 or more steps I am face to face with a fabulous fresco. It covers an area roughly 280 x 165 cms and is a long-arched rectangle. I read below the panel that this piece records “a lost time of peace, before the world was changed forever”. A sad record by Edward Southall who was a pacifist Quaker, starting this in 1914 and completing it in the winter of 1915-16. He was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement and leader of the Birmingham Group of Artists, having studied at the Birmingham School of Art (across the road from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery). Read More...

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17 Oct 2019

Dressed to the Nines – Call for Photos

Whether you’re off to a formal do or a night out on the town with friends, clothes play an important part in special occasions. Some events have official dress codes, requiring you to wear certain things, such as a tie, tuxedo, hat or heels. Others require to you decide for yourself what will be the most appropriate outfit to wear. 

Many of us will have bought a new outfit especially for a particular event, feeling that nothing we have in our wardrobes already is suitable. The clothes we don for special occasions are often different to those we wear on a daily basis – they might be smarter, more glamorous, more heavily decorated, or less well-worn – and they often have special memories or stories attached. Read More...