Birmingham Museums has a series of incredible venues that give a fascinating insight into the city’s vibrant past, showcasing world-class museum collections that focus on technology, culture and the arts, science and industrial heritage.

This summer, the Birmingham museums are offering a series of spectacular workshops, exhibitions and experiences – from hunting for treasure to silent discos, crazy science to arts and crafts, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy!

1Explore Mini Brum at Thinktank

MiniBrum is Thinktank’s very own mini-city, where children are in charge! This incredible child-sized world features local landmarks including the Birmingham canals, Selfridges and the Old Joe Clock Tower at the University of Birmingham. Featuring lots of exciting play zones for children to discover and enjoy, including home area where children can build their own dens, a park with race track inspired by Birmingham’s upcoming Commonwealth Games, a construction zone with a climbing tower and a slide, a workshop where children can fix a car engine, change a car tyre and make their own mini race cars and a salon with dress up and hairstyling areas, it’s a fantastic opportunity for youngsters to have fun and learn as they play!

MiniBrum is available for children under 8 years old. For more information, visit here.

2Rock out at the Home of Metal Black Sabbath 50 Years Exhibition: Wednesday 26th June – Sunday 29th September

Black Sabbath – Image: Birmingham Updates

From humble beginnings in 1960’s Aston to worldwide fame, Black Sabbath has sold over 70 million records worldwide and the Home of Metal Presents: Black Sabbath 50 Years exhibition focuses on the four founding members of the band – singer Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi (guitar), Bill Ward (drums) and Geezer Butler (bass) – celebrating their musical achievements with memorabilia, personal stories and collections from their 50 year legacy. The exhibition is open from Wednesday 26th June to Sunday 29th September at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s Gas Hall on Edmund Street and is the perfect day out for any Heavy Metal fan.

Tickets cost £12.00 for adults and £7.00 for children. Advanced booking is advised, but tickets may be purchased on the door at the museum. For more information visit here.

3Have an ‘out of this world’ time at a Moon Landing Party at Thinktank – Saturday 20th July

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1st Apollo moon landing on the 20th July 1969, Thinktank is holding a very special party, allowing visitors to take part in some fabulous Moon themed activities including a new 4K planetarium experience looking at the moon from every angle, the opportunity to hold a piece of moon rock, a silent disco and a rocket launch competition.

The event takes place on Saturday 20th July. Tickets cost £6.50 for adults and £9.00 for children. For more information visit here.

4Hunt for Pirates Treasure at Blakesley Hall: Saturday 20th July – Sunday 1st September

Children will love this adventurous Summer Treasure Hunt at Blakesley Hall. Follow the clues and find all pirate treasure chests in the garden of the stunning 400-year-old timber-framed house to complete the hunt!

The treasure hunt it is available Tuesday to Sunday only (Blakesley Hall is closed on Mondays) from Saturday 20 July – Sunday 1st September 2019 11.00am – 4.00pm. Tickets are just £2.00 for participating children. For more information visit here.

5Get Creative at a Lego Family Workshop at Thinktank: Monday 22nd July – Friday 30th August

Families can build and be creative together at a LEGO Family Session this summer using Duplo and LEGO kits suitable for different ages and abilities. Learn the basics of coding and test your own creations using programmable LEGO!

Sessions run at 12.30pm, 1.30pm and 3pm, Monday – Friday only. Each session is 45 minutes long and is limited to 30 people per session. Tickets are £2.00 per person, and the Thinktank entry fee also applies.

For more information, visit here. 

6Visit Birmingham’s Grandest Mansion!

Explore the splendour of one of the last great houses built in the Jacobean style. Located just a short distance from the city centre, Aston Hall is a magnificent mansion with a fascinating history. Admire the Grade I listed building with its stunning interiors and gardens and discover how Aston Hall received royalty, was besieged during the English Civil War and inspired an author.

Aston Hall is hosting numerous exciting activities over the summer for all the family, including interactive drawing explorations, fairytale story tours and Aston Alive – a tantalising taste of Aston Hall’s past through the history of food and drink.

For more information, visit here.

7Discover Idyllic Sarehole Mill

Explore the childhood haunt of author J.R.R. Tolkien, a once-rural watermill that provided location and character inspiration for his most famous works: The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

Don’t miss family events, crafts and workshops throughout the summer holidays including fairy door crafting, nature exploring, family baking and fancy dress!

For more information, visit here.

8Get Steamed Up at Thinktank: Wednesday 24th July

Designed by the firm of Boulton & Watt and installed almost 240 years ago on the Birmingham-Wolverhampton canal in 1779, Smethwick Engine, the oldest working steam engine in the world and was the first engine in the world to use both the expansive force of steam and a vacuum at the same time.

Come along to the Smethwick Engine Steaming Day on Wednesday 24th July, when the engine will be steaming at 12.00 & 2:30 pm.

Entry to this event is included in the price of admission to Thinktank.

For more information, visit here.

Admire the Elegant Home of a Birmingham Industrial Pioneer!

Beautifully restored to reflects the fashions and tastes of the late Georgian period, Soho House was the home of the industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton from 1766 to 1809. It was also a favourite meeting place of the Lunar Society, a leading Enlightenment group who would meet every month on the night of the full moon to dine, conduct experiments and discuss philosophical matters of the day.

This summer Soho House is hosting some exciting family events including ‘Boulton goes to Bollywood’ on 4 August. Experience the sights and sounds of Bollywood at the Boulton family home with a range of south Asian themed activities, workshops and performances in the grounds of Soho House.

On 31 July, as part of Soho House’s ‘Watt 2019’ programme, visitors are invited to take part in some hands-on Crazy Science inspired by the experiments the Lunar Society. Bring a picnic and relax in the garden afterwards!

For more information, visit here. 

9Take a Tour at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Built around a perfectly preserved jewellery workshop, The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter offers a fascinating and unique glimpse of working life in Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. When the proprietors of the Smith & Pepper jewellery manufacturing firm retired in 1981 they simply ceased trading and locked the door, leaving a time capsule behind for future generations.

The factory is now an incredible museum, telling the story of Birmingham’s renowned jewellery and metalworking heritage. Watch live demonstrations at the jewellers’ bench of the traditional skills of this fine trade, discover what it was like to work there and explore the two self-led galleries – ‘Story of the Jewellery Quarter’ and ‘Earth’s Riches.’

For more information, visit here. 

10See the Staffordshire Hoard on Display

Unearthed in Lichfield ten years ago, discover the story of the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found – The Staffordshire Hoard – on display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (free entry).

Hundreds of pieces from the Hoard are on show, including the stunning Staffordshire Hoard Helmet, along with hands-on displays exploring how these intriguing items were used before they were buried some 1400 years ago. Visitors can learn more about the exquisite craftsmanship used to create the items in the hoard, how the designs of the objects can be linked to many regions across Europe and conservation techniques have been used to unlock its secrets.

For more information, visit here.  

11Relax and Refuel in a Unique and Historic Setting

Much more than just a museum café, the stunning Edwardian Tearooms at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is a destination in its own right. Sample the elegant afternoon tea, try out the new summer menu or simply stop by for a tea or coffee.

Visiting with young children? The adjoining interactive Mini Museum space is designed for children aged 5 years old and under, including fine art from the Museums’ collection on the themes of childhood and animals, taxidermy from the natural science collection, dressing up clothes, a puppet theatre and a soft seating/storytelling area with plenty of books and is a great way to encourage children to love museums!

For more information, visit here. 

12Want to find out more?

For more information about all of the Birmingham Museums summer events and exhibitions, visit here: www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/whats-on

Birmingham Museums Trust is part of the Updates Media partner programme.