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There are just a few weeks left to visit Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s current displays and exhibitions ahead of the building’s closure for Birmingham City Council’s ongoing maintenance work to the museum and adjoining Council House.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) partially re-opened in spring 2022 with a host of exciting pop-up exhibitions to celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. These exhibitions will be deinstalled throughout November with BMAG closing fully on Sunday, 13th November at 5pm.

The famous Round Room gallery carries the We Are Birmingham display, a celebration of the people who make up 21st century Birmingham. Co-curated by Birmingham Museums and a group of six young people in partnership with We Don’t Settle, the display presents a vivid celebration of the city that Birmingham is now as well as aspirations of what the city could become.

The Bridge Gallery is showcasing a selection of gems from Birmingham’s civic collection and inviting feedback on what people want to see from the museum when it reopens fully. Unprecedented times, developed in partnership with Birmingham City Council’s Public Health Division and Birmingham Museums’ Community Action Panel, explores survival of the human spirit in public crises past and present. The display explores themes of hope and loss featuring historic objects from Birmingham’s collection alongside new work and photograph by Birmingham based artists.

Not to be missed in The Industrial Gallery is Wonderland: Birmingham’s Cinema Stories, a packed exhibition by Flatpack Projects exploring how cinema shaped the streets, social lives and dreams of Brummies over the past 125 years. Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence, by Kalaboration Arts, documents the struggles of Asian and African Carribean communities against racism.

Memories of 1990s club nights are captured in In The Que, a celebration of one of Birmingham’s greatest music venues, The Que Club. Finally, SaV?ge K’lubroom is a secretive corner of BMAG curated by New Zealand artists Rosanna Raymond and Jaimie Waititi, asking the question: what might it mean to be a ‘savage’ today?

The Edwardian Tearooms and Museum Shop will also close on Sunday, 13th November, to allow essential electrical work, heating and roof repairs to continue. 

BMAG is planned to re-open to visitors in 2024 – the exact date is to be confirmed.

A Wishing Tree made up of Birmingham’s wishes for the future will be situated in the Industrial Gallery. What hopes do you have for between now and BMAG reopening? What history would you like to see made in your family, in Birmingham, in the world? What’s your heart’s wish for when BMAG re-opens? These special wishes will be collated, creatively interpreted and will inform BMAG’s future work.

This year’s partial reopening of BMAG was the first chance to see the journey Birmingham Museums Trust is embarking on to make the Trust and the organisation more representative of the people of the city with a new approach to galleries and displays, working with people and partners.

Throughout 2023, Birmingham Museums Trust will work with more people and creative organisations across the city to develop the new displays, exhibitions and events they would like to see when the museum reopens. Those who would like to help Birmingham Museums bring the city’s stories to life can donate on its Just Giving page.

Birmingham Museums Trust is England’s largest civic museums service, attracting around one million visitors a year to its nine venues. More than 36,000 items of Birmingham’s collections were moved into safe storage to enable the maintenance work to be carried out at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Throughout 2023, while BMAG is closed, ongoing essential infrastructure works can continue. This includes electrical work, upgrading heating, roof repairs and the replacement of lifts.