An exciting new gallery uncovering the fascinating science of materials, manufacturing and reducing waste in the region has recently opened at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum.
‘We Made It’ features more than 20 interactive exhibits that show just how and why Birmingham became known as ‘the workshop of the world’. Visitors are taken on a journey from raw materials to finished product, demonstrating how everyday goods are produced. The journey is illustrated by around 1200 intriguing objects from Birmingham’s world-renowned manufacturing and natural science collections, and contemporary products made or designed in Birmingham. Find out what links a car and a cow, what makes treasure like jewellery valuable, why we use certain types of packaging, and how products are held together.
The new gallery, part of the Made in Birmingham project, has been largely funded by a £894,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The gallery has also received generous support from Millennium Point Trust, SITA Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation and a range of charitable trusts. It is designed to excite young minds and an exciting programme of learning activities directly linked to the science and heritage within the exhibition will be developed for all visitors. In particular, workshops and activities which enable school children to use the gallery to support National Curriculum science will be run throughout the year.
The gallery contains four distinct areas, each focussing on an area of manufacturing for which Birmingham is renowned:
1. Nuts and Bolts – Learn about Birmingham’s role in making iron and steel goods for the world.
2. Treasure – Precious possessions made from precious metals and gemstones.
3. Tins and Things – Discover why the West Midlands is the home of aluminium production and decorative glass.
4. Gadgets – Come and uncover inventions that have changed everyday life, from cameras to mobile phones; and find out why wood and plastic have been used to produce these items.
Janine Eason, Director of Learning & Exhibitions at Thinktank said: ‘We are extremely excited about the opening of the We Made It gallery. Birmingham and the region have such a rich history of manufacturing and it will be fascinating for families to explore this through science and interactive exhibits. Visitors will be able to engage with materials science through familiar themes and link Earth’s resources with working machines. Whether it’s examining real gemstones through a microscope or helping to assemble an actual Mini, there is something for everyone.’