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27 Mar 2020

Helping to Bring a Turtle Out of its Shell

In 1858 Birmingham Museum acquired the carapace of a large sea turtle. This turtle found its way to Aston Hall, where it was exhibited hanging on the wall in the kitchen for many years, demonstrating the Victorians’ love of turtle soup.

With the redevelopment of the new stable block at Aston Hall in 2009, the turtle was transferred to the Museum Collection Centre, where it was been admired by visitors on open days and tours, displayed alongside the Museum’s collection of historic vehicles. Read More...

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24 Mar 2020

Things to Do

All our Birmingham Museums sites are closed until the 1st May 2020. But it doesn’t mean there aren’t fun activities to do themed around or inspired by our wonderful sites.

Here is a list inspired by our galleries and collections. Read More...

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24 Feb 2020

Whitworth Wallis Fellowship 2019/2020 Part 1

Birmingham’s social history is rich, complex and nuanced, and too large for me to comprehend, however I thought I’d have a go nonetheless.

Growing up within a traditional working-class family, in Northfield, Birmingham, I have witnessed first hand the shift in social class categorisations, mainly due to the shift from production to consumption. Every male member of my family is or has been employed within some form of manual labour based occupation, and has experienced the turbulence that comes with this in the current economic climate. My formative years have acted as the foundation for my artistic practice, as I explore social class categorisations and how the traditional working class exists amongst contemporary societal shifts. Read More...

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24 Feb 2020

Duncan Grant: Bloomsbury Pioneer

My name is Andrew and I volunteer as Curator’s Assistant (Fine Art) with curators Victoria Osborne and Emalee Beddoes-Davis. I have recently been working with Emalee to document the artworks that Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has received over the years through the Contemporary Art Society. This organisation encourages appreciation of contemporary art by donating works by new and important artists to UK museums. While working on this project, I have discovered the work of the innovative painter and designer Duncan Grant (1885-1978) and I’d like to share something about him and his works held by Birmingham Museums.

One of Britain’s most important and influential 20th-century artists, Grant was prolific, noted for his portraits, landscapes, murals and still lifes, as well as his design work. While studying in Paris in 1906 and 1907, he first encountered the work of the French avant-garde, being introduced to Matisse in 1909 and Picasso in 1912. It was only with Roger Fry’s two Post-Impressionist exhibitions in London, however, that he felt the full impact of modernism. The first of these, 1910’s ‘Manet and the Post-Impressionists’, showcased the work of Cézanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh, while the second, in 1912, highlighted that of Matisse and Picasso. Grant was particularly influenced by Cézanne and the intense colours of the Post-Impressionists. Read More...

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17 Feb 2020

What is Don’t Settle?

Over the last year we at Don’t Settle have been working in partnership with Birmingham Museums. You may have seen a mention here and there, but who are we and what have we been doing?

The aim of the Don’t Settle project is to champion young people of colour to get involved with heritage by getting them to design the stories that places tell, deciding how they’re told and who gets a say. Read More...

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14 Feb 2020

Volunteering in Conservation Club 2020

Hello, my name is Titis and I am currently studying in the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham. I began volunteering for the Conservation Club at Birmingham Museums in October 2016, and because I enjoyed the season, I decided to continue the following year. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to continue volunteering – I am now in my fourth season of the club.

At first, I was doubtful about my decision to join the club. First, I did not know if I could be consistent with my commitment, because I am also a full-time student. Second, as an international student, I did not have much knowledge about British history, and I worried that this would put me at a disadvantage. Third, I did not have experience of handling historical objects or conservation cleaning historical locations. However, my concerns were completely unfounded. The supervisors I work with are friendly, and I am not only gaining new knowledge and skills but also new friends. Read More...

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12 Feb 2020

Volunteering with the Image Library

Hi, I’m Jasmine and currently I am in my final year at the University of Birmingham studying Ancient History. At Birmingham Museums Trust I volunteer as an Image Library Assistant based at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

This volunteer role is important as there are a lot of images that need to be uploaded to the Digital Image Resource, and I aid in making the process of uploading quicker. I have only been in this role for a short period of time as I started in November, but already this role has been beneficial to understanding the workings of what goes on behind the scenes of the museum. My main project is the uploading of various images that depict artworks, pictures, costume and so much more from across all Birmingham Museums Trust sites. Read More...

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11 Feb 2020

Volunteering at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

My name is Adam, and I volunteer at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter as a Heritage Interpreter. I am studying Palaeontology at the University of Birmingham, and I wanted to get some experience in working in museums, so I applied and started volunteering in October 2019.

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter was originally a jewellery workshop owned by the Smith & Pepper manufacturing firm from 1899 to 1981. When the owners retired, they locked the doors and walked away, leaving everything behind exactly where it had been when it was still in business. This time capsule was then turned into a museum, opening in 1992. Read More...

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10 Feb 2020

Student Volunteering Week 2020

From the 10th – 16th February it is national Student Volunteering Week, the week of the year when we really celebrate all those fabulous members of our volunteer team who are also hard at work studying too.

To celebrate Student Volunteering Week each year we announce Birmingham Museums Trust’s Student Volunteer of the Year. I am delighted to say that the 2020 winner is Titis Widuri, who is in her fourth year of volunteering with us in the Conservation Club whilst also studying with the University of Birmingham in the International Development Department. We would like to say a huge thank you to Titis from all of us here at Birmingham Museums for your time, enthusiasm and passion for volunteering with us. We love hearing how much she is enjoying volunteering too: “I will be sharing my experience with my friends and my colleagues back in Indonesia, after I finish my studies. I would encourage anyone interested in history, or anyone just looking for a fun and rewarding experience, to apply and get involved with Birmingham Museums Trust.” Read More...

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5 Feb 2020

My Cataloguing and Research Placement

I’m Jasmin and I am currently a 2nd-year student at the University of Birmingham, studying Ancient History & Archaeology and History (yes, a mouthful!). I undertook this placement as part of my module on Professional Skills, as a practical way to understand employability in the heritage sector. My placement as a Cataloguing and Research Assistant at Birmingham Museum Collection Centre was a great eye-opener to the life behind the museum displays. 

Read More...