In just four weeks’ time Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery will partially return with a series of pop-up displays and live events that bring a different feel to the historic building for the Commonwealth Games and Birmingham 2022 Festival. The partial reopening will take place while Birmingham City Council’s essential electrical works programme continues in other areas of the building.
The Round Room, Industrial Gallery, Edwardian Tearooms, Gallery 10 and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery Shop will reopen seven days a week from April 28. The Bridge Gallery will also reopen to showcase a selection of gems from the civic collection and invite feedback on what people want to see from the museum when it reopens fully.
The areas reopening in April will close again in December to allow maintenance work to continue before the building reopens fully in 2024. It is the first time since October 2020 that visitors will be able to return to one of Birmingham’s most popular visitor attractions and to mark the occasion the galleries are being handed over to some of the city’s most exciting creatives who have responded to the theme of ‘This Is Birmingham’.
The five displays will bring together themes such as culture identity, community, and media, with new objects on display and live events as well as space for visitors to join in and contribute. The displays will be supported by a programme of live events including talks, performances and a series of Edwardian Tearooms ‘Lates’ over the course of the year.
Don’t Settle: We Are Birmingham is a new display that will present a vivid celebration of the city that Birmingham is now as well as aspirations of what the city could become. Birmingham Music Archive: In The Que is a sensory exhibition that will celebrate one of Birmingham’s greatest music venues – the Que Club.
Fierce: SaVĀge K’Lub: Vā TAMATEA is brings together a New Zealand and Samoa collaboration to investigate topics such as European explorers as well as the meaning of savagery. Flatpack Projects: Wonderland explores how cinema has shaped the streets, social lives and dreams of Brummies over the past 125 years.
Kalaboration Arts: Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence documented the struggles of Asian and African Caribbean communities against racism. Finally, Unprecedented Times is an additional exhibition which will invite visitors to take a moment to pause and reflect on all that has passed in Birmingham over the last two years of living with Covid-19.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy the city’s first major art exhibition since the pandemic when Gas Hall reopens on May 14 with an Arts Council collection exhibition curated by Turner Prize-winning and internationally-renowned artist Lubaina Himid CBE. Found Cities, Lost Objects: Women in the City, opens in Birmingham with a selection of local works before touring galleries and museums across the UK.
April’s partial reopening is the first chance to see the journey the museum will be going on to make it more representative of the people of the city with a new approach to galleries, exhibitions and objects on display, all driven and curated with the people of the city.
Sara Wajid and Zak Mensah, Co-CEOs of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “Having spoken to the creative teams behind the partner displays and seen their displays taking shape we’re so excited to be unpacking Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in just four weeks – for the Commonwealth Games and the Birmingham 2022 Festival.
“The museum is going to feel very different this summer with a new approach to exhibitions and how visitors enjoy the themes on display and the galleries hosting them.
“While some of the spaces may feel different there will always be a warm welcome and we want everyone to join us for a look around or a hot drink and lunch in the lovely Edwardian Tearooms.”
Martin Green CBE, Chief Creative Officer, Birmingham 2022, said: “Bringing multiple creative companies together under one roof for this series of pop-up displays is really exciting. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is a major cultural force in the city and this fresh direction and openness speaks volumes about Birmingham and the region.”
For further information and a list of the displays visit: birminghammuseums.org.uk
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