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18 Dec 2018

Meet the the Jeweller in Residence

After the excitement of being appointed “Jeweller in Residence” at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter the size of the task to design a range for this amazing place meant my feelings of excitement were also joined by nerves! However, I can confirm I have thoroughly enjoyed the process.

I made the decision to use this privileged opportunity, of exploring the museum, to design my range from scratch, rather than develop my competition entry. On my first few visits I immersed myself in the history by attending some of the fantastic tours which sparked lots of design ideas to explore. A highlight has been having a look through one of Smith & Pepper’s original sketchbooks filled with design drawings - absolutely exquisite! Read More...

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17 Dec 2018

Surprising Reindeer Facts!

You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer, and Vixen; Comet, and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen, and you certainly know Rudolph as well – but do you know that these most famous reindeer might actually be females?

Reindeer are the only species of deer where both the males and females have antlers. They are used for battling other Reindeer in the fight for food and mates. Male Reindeer lose their antlers every winter, whereas the females keep theirs until the spring so that they can challenge other females for food while they’re pregnant. A fully grown bull (the male of the species) usually grows to around 3 or 4-foot-high and can weigh up to 28 and a half stone (400 lbs). The cows (females) are a little smaller. Read More...

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31 Oct 2018

Armistice Day Dress

2018 marks 100 years since the end of the First World War making this year’s Armistice Day even more poignant. As organisations and individuals across the country prepare to mark this significant occasion we turned, as museums do, to our collection.

During the past four years of commemorations Birmingham Museums has hosted a number of fantastic exhibitions exploring topics such as the role of Muslim Soldiers, local regiments, individual families and local trade. Read More...

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22 Oct 2018

Pangolins: The World's Most Illegally Traded Mammal

Head into the Wildlife Gallery at Thinktank and you will find some wonderful examples of animal life. There is a leopard, a peacock and even a Triceratops skull! You will also find on display a very special animal called a Pangolin.

Pangolins (or scaly anteaters) are mammals which live in Africa and Asia. They have scales on their skin making them look a little like a pine cone or a globe artichoke. They are the only mammals which have this adaptation. Pangolin scales are made of keratin, just like our finger nails, and are attached to muscles under the skin. If threatened, the pangolin rolls into a tight ball. This presents its armoured scales to any potential predator, and also protects the soft parts of its body. Read More...

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13 Sep 2018

David Cox: Impressionist Influencer

Some of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s famous collection of Pre-Raphaelite art is on tour. Over 200 works have travelled to America for ‘Victorian Radicals’, an exhibition touring the States from October 2018. What this means is that the museum has put together a new display, showcasing paintings by Birmingham-born landscape artist David Cox (1783–1859). If you haven’t heard of David Cox, here’s an introduction to this important artist, whose work can be understood as a precursor to Impressionism. 

Cox, who was born in Digbeth, spent his early art career by painting landscape scenery for the theatre. However, by the early 19th century he had begun to take watercolour lessons with John Varley (a close friend of William Blake). Mastering the medium, he made several watercolour sketching tours around the UK, including to Derbyshire, Devon, Wales and Yorkshire to paint the local landscape. From 1805 his works were exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, and he became well-known for his atmospheric watercolour depictions of the British countryside and coast.  Read More...

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12 Sep 2018

Being a Museum Insider

I joined the Community Engagement team at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) in what was an extremely busy week for any museum team, days before an exhibition launch. I jumped right in because this exhibition was what I was here for. When I applied and interviewed for the placement, it was with the purpose of working in StoryLab, a testing gallery space at BMAG. If you haven’t heard of StoryLab and its unique methodology in the exploration of topics, please visit its current exhibition, Within and Without: Body Image and the Self on till February 2019 (shameless plug).

Joining at the time of the exhibition launch meant I got to witness the thought and discussion that went into the final placement of objects and art pieces, and the many details that went into organising a launch event, which was exciting. I was joining the team on an eight week student placement at the end of my Masters at the University of Leicester. My role within the Community Engagement team at BMAG was to conduct and co-ordinate the evaluation of the Within and Without exhibition. It included devising what evaluation testing methodologies were best suited in order to document the varied responses from visitors and coordinating with nine volunteers who gave their time to be in the gallery.  Read More...

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3 Aug 2018

Reflections on Refugee Week

In June Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery hosted an event for Refugee Week’s 20th Birthday celebrations, in partnership with Celebrating Sanctuary and Near Neighbours. The event featured musicians and performances by artists from diverse backgrounds, including music from Zimbabwe and Angola.

Read More...

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27 Jul 2018

Inspire 18 Now Open!

We were delighted to launch the Inspire 18 exhibition of Youth Artwork on Saturday in a fabulous celebration evening. 

We were so pleased to be able to present prizes to our ultimate winner, 10 year old Charlie, and the wonderful runner’s up and highly commended artists. Read More...

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20 Jul 2018

Dippy on Holiday Competition

Take a photo of your Dippy on Tour soft toy on holiday or on a day trip to be in with the chance of winning a Family Membership Plus for Birmingham Museums!

We would love to see where Dippy goes and what he gets up to! Read More...

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13 Jul 2018

The Weird and the Wonderful: My Time at the Museum Collection Centre

Hello everyone, my name is Cai and from January until April, I was the Collections and Storage Trainee for Birmingham Museums Trust (BMT) based at the Museum Collection Centre (MCC), where I got to handle – you guessed it – the weird and the wonderful.

My internship was through the University of Birmingham, where I am a masters student studying History of Art, and its Experience Heritage Scheme, and experience heritage I did! I applied for the internship because I was intrigued by the potential to interact with historical objects, through cataloguing, handling, and visual assessment, and because I was keen to get a behind the scenes look at the collections.  Read More...