The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is a historic cultural institution in central Birmingham. It’s housed in an extended part of the Birmingham Council House, just opposite the Town Hall in Chamberlain Square. The building has over 40 galleries showcasing 800,000 historic exhibits.

The museum was officially opened in 1885, housing over 200 years of history within its walls. Today, it proudly displays works of art spanning over 8 centuries, including the Renaissance and modern periods. It may take several hours for you to fully explore the museum and art gallery, making it an ideal attraction to visit if you're looking to step away from the infamous English rain.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery - one of the highlights of 10 Fun Things You Didn't Know About Birmingham and 11 Best Things to Do on a Small Budget in Birmingham (Read all about Birmingham here)

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A brief history of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery was established in 1885, though historic reports predate the existence of the museum to 1829. However, it was not as popular to the locals as it was only a private exhibition held in New Street, Birmingham by the Birmingham Society of Artists.

In 1880, Allen Edward Everitt, a local artist in Birmingham, accepted the role of an honorary curator of the Free Art Gallery, thus sparking the idea of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. The opening of the museum was officiated by the Prince of Wales in 1885.

Seven of the galleries at the museum had to be rebuilt after a bomb attack during WWII. Since then, the museum has been on track to curating more historic arts and exhibits to become the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery that we see today.

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What are the highlights of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery?

On top of the permanent exhibitions, the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery offers special displays throughout the year. Past notable events include Wildlife Photographer of the Year and a special Black Sabbath Home of Metal exhibition. Visit the museum’s official website to get the most updated information on present and future exhibitions.

Marvelling at historic works of art is not the only thing you can do at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Many guests have sung praises for the award-winning Edwardian Tearoom, where you can enjoy traditional afternoon teas in a historic setting. Gluten-free options, vegan or vegetarian, and kids’ menus are available upon request.

The Edwardian Tearooms are also the only place in Birmingham that offers a "Press for Champagne" service in collaboration with House of Piper-Heidsieck. Separate reservations to visit the tearoom are not needed if you have a museum ticket. If you’re visiting the museum early, be sure to ask about the tearoom’s happy hours and daily specials.

Good to know about Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Entry to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is free, though some major installations by the Gas Hall may require separate charges. Families with young children can purchase a Kids and Family Museum Activity Pack to keep the young ones entertained. These activity packs can be purchased online when you book your tickets or on the spot for a small fee. Lifts are present through the Gas Hall entrance for guests with mobility difficulties.

You can reach the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery via a variety of public transport lines. This includes a ride on the Midland Metro Tram, with the Birmingham Town Hall stop just 2 minutes away from the museum. For cyclists, bicycle racks are available under a bridge by the entrance of Chamberlain Square.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Location: Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH, UK

Open: Wednesday–Thursday and Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, Friday from 10.30 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

Phone: +44 (0)1213 488032

Elie Lam | Contributing Writer