While there’s often a lot made of the new exhibitions being set up at galleries in London, regional museums in the UK can get less attention. But the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is set to open not one but two new exhibitions from later this month.
The Express and Star revealed that, from 7 December, the establishment will be opening its Dressed to the Nines and Birmingham Revolutions: Power to the People exhibitions. Both will run until September next year, so there’s plenty of time to see what they’re all about.
Birmingham Revolutions: Power to the People will walk you through some of the city’s history, helping you learn about the groups and people who have fought for a better Birmingham.
The exhibition covers everything from the Priestley Riots in 1971 to the LGBTQ+ campaigners who take to the streets today. It’s not just about how these protestors have impacted Birmingham either, as the exhibition will look at how they’ve been influential in some of the most important campaigns and movements throughout the UK’s history.
Among the items on display will be a series of banners that were used in different protests. There are even banners dating back to the 1830s, which were used by the Birmingham Political Union, as well as a banner from the Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Society, which was used in protests in 1908.
Another unique item that will form part of this exhibition is a Gibson Custom Les Paul guitar, which was played by Basil Gabbidon, one of the musicians in the band Steel Pulse.
Their first album, Handsworth Revolution, talked directly about the “racism, violence and discrimination experienced in Birmingham in the 1970s and 1980s”.
Dressed to the Nines, meanwhile, will showcase items of a very different nature. This exhibition has been curated to show the evolution of fashion and dressing for special occasions from the 1850s to the present day.
It’s made up of garments, accessories and works of art, many of which have never been on public display before.
Highlights include a Christian Dior cocktail dress from 1958, a court uniform worn by prime minister Neville Chamberlain, and the outfit worn by Lady Canning, wife of the Lord Mayor, to the Birmingham Centenary Dinner in 1938.
Effectively showcasing such a varied range of items will require the use of a range of bespoke display cases.
Finding new and innovative ways to display items is something that museums across the country are doing. For establishments that aren’t as well known as the big national museums or galleries, it’s important to provide an exceptional visitor experience.
One London museum which has been closed for extensive renovations is set to reopen in 2020. Londonist revealed that the Geffrye Museum will reopen under a new name next year: Museum of the Home.
Its best known exhibition – rooms through time – will return in the newly refurbished museum, but the renovations also mean that it’s going to be able to showcase many more of the items in its collection.
In fact, the news provider revealed that it will have 80 per cent more display space than previously, enabling it to show off an additional 500 items to visitors.