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28 Apr 2017

test

Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery test test

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18 Apr 2017

Win Afternoon Tea in the Edwardian Tearooms, followed by an exclusive stay at the Staying Cool serviced apartments!

Delicious scones, heavenly Devonshire clotted cream, a selection of sandwiches and traditional afternoon tea – what more could you want? 

We are offering an Afternoon Tea for two in our award winning Edwardian Tearooms, along with an exclusive stay for one night for two people at the Staying Cool serviced apartments at the Rotunda! You’ll have a luxury studio apartment with floor to ceiling windows – perfect for seeing the great view of Birmingham. Read More...

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10 Apr 2017

From Coast to Coast

The distance between Valentia Island, a small island off the coast of Ireland, and Hearts Content, a fishing village in Newfoundland, is just over 3000km. In between the two lies the Atlantic Ocean, the second largest ocean on the planet. Yet, despite these crazy distances, a bit of Birmingham-based engineering helped bridge the gap and create a revolutionary communications network.

In the mid 1800s it would take around 10 days for a message to pass from North America to Europe, the average crossing speed for shipping vessels of the era. Many businessmen and inventors of the period had put their faith in a submerged telegraph cable to reduce the time taken for communications including Samuel Morse, the co-inventor of Morse code. Many successful experiments were undertaken, with different lengths of wires and different insulators being submerged and used to carry signals with the first commercial lines stretching between Dover and Calais in September 1851, with further cables later connecting Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands to Britain. These early cables were simple though and were very prone to breaking as their construction was often nothing more than a copper wire inside a flexible tube with a waterproof insulated covering; what was needed was a strong, durable and flexible alternative to protect the cables, especially at such depths as those found in the Atlantic Ocean.  Read More...

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4 Apr 2017

Bikes and Bloomers: the ‘Rational’ Revolution

In the late nineteenth century John Kemp Starley revolutionised cycling when he patented the Safety Bicycle. The design was very different to earlier cycle models, noticeably in the size of the wheels. 

One of the earliest bicycle designs was the ‘ordinary’, commonly known as a Penny Farthing. This name was in reference to the two very different sized wheels, comparing them to British coinage of the time. The very large ‘penny’ wheel at the front with a much smaller ‘farthing’ wheel behind. Read More...

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30 Mar 2017

Birmingham Manufactures Project; The School of Jewellery

Although Birmingham is famously known as the City of a Thousand Trades, one trade shines particularly brightly in its history and self-identity - and not only because of its association with precious metals. That trade is, of course, the jewellery trade. 

The beginnings of Birmingham’s jewellery trade lie in its history as a metal working town and with the production of steel and silver buckles, buttons, and trinkets in the eighteenth century.  Read More...

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11 Mar 2017

The invention of Braille six dots that changed the world

Head into Things About Me (TAM) in Thinktank and you will find some wonderful examples of the amazing things the human body can do. But often overlooked is a white place, which lots of little bumps on it. If you read the information next to it, we find out it is the rhyme twinkle, twinkle little star written in braille. Six dots, six bumps, but who made this code? None other than Louis Braille, a French school boy, who was also blind. And his work changed the world of reading and writing, forever.

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9 Mar 2017

Inspire '17 Arts Competition

Recognising Birmingham’s wealth of young talent through art.

Our youth arts competition is back for a second year and promises to be bigger and better than before! Inspire’17 will feature over one hundred selected art entries across our prestigious Bridge Gallery at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, showcasing work submitted by children and young people aged 5-19 living in the West Midlands.  Read More...

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23 Feb 2017

Volunteering with Ignite Take Two

Howdy y’all, Becky here! I’ve been part of Birmingham Museums’ Youth Forum Ignite for over a year, and I’ve got up to some pretty amazing things during that time. Here are my top four events which are sure to delight & astonish.

In at number 4 is…Film making For our film project, we chose an object worthy of screen time. My group settled on the statue of Lucifer by Epstein; it is such an interesting piece. For example, did you know that the statue is comprised of a male body and female head? It creates a very ethereal feel to Lucifer, and captured our imagination. So, our film would focus on Lucifer, but what else? This was a question we pondered for an age (about ten minutes), until suddenly, like a spark of inspiration, it hit us! (Not literally of course) We used lines from Milton’s Paradise Lost, as Epstein was inspired by the epic poem. A few members of the unsuspecting, but terribly obliging, public were interviewed and they all loved Lucifer, as do I! Read More...

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22 Feb 2017

Volunteering at Weoley Castle

Last September, I arrived in England from Southern California to pursue a Master’s degree in Medieval History at the University of Birmingham, a choice which most of my family and friends viewed as slightly insane. Well before I actually arrived here (about two years ago) I began looking into volunteering opportunities with the Birmingham Museums Trust, as my ultimate goal is a career in the heritage sector. So when I got an email about a role in Conservation Club role, I immediately responded, and arranged to meet with Becky, the Volunteer Development Team Leader. In the course of our chat she brought to my attention the Castle Keepers group at Weoley Castle, and suggested that it might be an even better fit for me. As it turns out, it’s been a much better fit than I think either of us realized at the time!

As a member of the Castle Keepers, I get to touch Medieval history in a way that I would never have been able to back in California. Although Weoley Castle is a ruin, there is still so much fascinating information to be gained from the site. It came as a surprise to me, not being a particularly outdoors-y person, how immensely satisfying it is to simply remove the omnipresent moss from the stones of the castle and preserve the stones for years to come. Read More...

Beth
21 Feb 2017

Volunteering at Aston Hall 2017

My name is Beth and I am part of a lovely group of volunteers at Aston Hall, a historic mansion built by the intriguing Sir Thomas Holte. Giving my time to help provide tours to visitors is both an enjoyable and rewarding experience. 

When I first started my volunteering at the Hall I was keen to get to know the facts and stories about the building and its history before jumping in at the deep end and giving full tours. I was able to wander the beautiful state rooms, navigate around the servant’s quarters and really learn what it would have been like to live and work in this impressive home. I then took up posts in different sections of the Hall, talking to visitors who wished to stroll through the rooms and answer any questions they had about aspects of the house. I enjoy engaging with visitors and conversing with people who share my passion for the early modern period. Read More...