In these challenging and unfamiliar times, while the doors to the nine Birmingham Museums Trust venues across the city are closed, there are ways to keep in touch and engaged online with virtual tours, an extensive image database, spotlight videos, and more, as the team bring the museums to you.
Janine Eason, Director of Engagement at Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “Our doors may be closed for now, but we are still there for our visitors. Art and culture can help us make sense of the world and often gives us an escape. We are lucky to have some excellent online resources so that people and families can explore the collection and continue to engage with us.
“We hope we can bring some joy and distraction to everyone who needs it during this concerning time.”
Birmingham Museums is an independent charity that cares for the city’s collection of over a million objects on behalf of Birmingham City Council, which includes everything from steam trains and planes, to fashion and fine art. The Trust shares these objects with visitors at nine venues, including Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG), Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, and Aston Hall.
Here’s how you can explore the collection and engage with it online.
- Thousands of images from the city’s collection are freely available to view, download, and use creatively. The online resource launched last year, and new out-of-copyright images continue to be added. The database spans a range of areas from Pre-Raphaelite drawings and prints to historical views of Birmingham and the Midlands. Visit online at birminghammuseums.org.uk and why not have a go at the BMAG museum meme challenge twitter.com/BM_AG/status/1240726433313554434?
- Take a virtual tour of BMAG at birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/virtual-tour. With thanks to ScanTech Digital, the 3D tour gives you the opportunity to visit the permanent galleries of the museum from the comfort of your own home. Be greeted by Sir Jacob Epstein’s Lucifer statue in the Round Room, take a closer look at the Staffordshire Hoard, explore the modern and contemporary art galleries, or marvel at the Victorian architecture of the Industrial Gallery. Share your experience with the team via social media.
- Visit the Birmingham Museums YouTube channel. A series of new object spotlight videos will be released over the coming weeks so you can learn more about some of the fascinating artworks on display. There is also an archive of past videos about displays and exhibitions. Visit youtube.com/user/BirminghamMAG or see social media for the latest videos.
- Step back in time and learn about the discovery of the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found via the Staffordshire Hoard website staffordshirehoard.org.uk.The Staffordshire Hoard collection is owned by Birmingham City Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council on behalf of the nation, and is cared for by Birmingham Museums Trust and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. The website follows the story of the Hoard and how it was discovered and conserved for display. See high resolution images of key pieces from the collection and the replica Staffordshire Hoard helmet.
- Over 250 images from Birmingham’s collection are also available to download via Unsplash com/@birminghammuseumstrust. Images can also be found on Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/birminghammag/ and Pinterest www.pinterest.co.uk/birminghammag/. Oil paintings from the collection can be seen on Art UK www.artuk.org/visit/collection/birmingham-museums-trust-136 and watercolours at Watercolour World www.watercolourworld.org/collection/birmingham-museums-trust – so there’s lots to explore and enjoy while you can’t visit the museums in person.
Birmingham Museums is an educational charity and like many sectors, arts and culture organisations are being hit hard by the current closures. If you’re able to, please consider donating at www.justgiving.com/BirminghamMuseums or text LOVEBMT to 70085 to donate £3.
Texts cost £3 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our museums and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £3 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text LOVEBMTNOINFO to 70085.
Watch this space, as the team will be finding new ways to keep in touch with audiences over the coming weeks. Keep up to date at www.birminghammuseums.org.uk and via social media.