Experience Art in the Midlands at Home (Part 1)

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This two-part blog will highlight how you can experience all thirteen of the MAP partner institutions in the safety and comfort of your own home. You can read the second part here.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham

Missing the Barber’s Tuesday talks? No worries – they’ve been releasing them as podcasts!  So far, three have been released, and are incredibly informative and well-produced, perfect for your weekly dose of art. The Barber have also been extremely active on social media, sharing works from the collection on a daily basis, and holding various live Q&As on Facebook. Make sure you are following them on social media so that you don’t miss out! They have also launched ‘Barber Home’, a series of online arts events that you can experience at home. The next event is a ‘Queer watch party with CineQ ‘ on 4th June. 

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A blue banner which reads 'Barber Home'. A bust of a woman is in the top right corner. A bronze sculpture of a rhino is in the bottom left.
Barber Home banner. Image courtesy of the Barber Institute.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The BMAG have a virtual reality tour of the entire museum available for free on their website that you can view on your computer – or bonus if you’ve got a virtual reality headset! You can walk through all the galleries and even nip to the gift shop and tea rooms at the end. I did this tour recently with a friend who has never been to the BMAG before over video call. We both thoroughly enjoyed it – I was able to show them a few of my favourites from the collection, we picked out works that we’ll go take a better look at in-person once able, and even decided where we’ll sit for a drink in the Edwardian tea rooms after! 

The BMAG is also being heavily active on social media, sharing different works every day and producing Object Spotlight videos which take a deeper dive into some of the highlights of the collection. 

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The Travelling Companions by Augustus Egg, edited by Lisa Karra and Anthony Hansle. Two women sit opposite each other in a train carriage wearing luxurious dresses. Lisa Karra has photoshopped medical masks onto to their faces, and wrote 'Cover-19: We Shall Overcome' in the bottom right corner.
‘Travelling Companions’ from the series ‘Covid-19: We Shall Overcome’. Image credit to Lisa Karra and Anthony Hansle. https://twitter.com/LisaKarra/status/1266020064358260736

The Collection, Lincoln

The Collection have been continuing to share their collection on social media, and sharing many at-home art activities that you and your loved ones can take part in. They have an amazing series of online learning resources – enough to cover seven weeks of fun and learning! Covering everything from the Jurassic Sea, to the Anglo-Saxons, and a wildflower trail – it is definitely worth checking out! 

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A table set up with painting crafts for children.
Online Learning cover image. Image courtesy of The Collection

Derby Museums, Derby 

Derby Museums have launched ‘Derby Museums from Home’. Through this website, you can explore their exhibitions and collections, and they have put together a load of incredible play and learning resources! There is a load of different resources that highlight arts and crafts in Derby. There are curator talks, craft guides, short films, and more! I particularly loved ‘The Nanas Guide to Derby Museums: Light and Dark’. 

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A bronze sculpture mounted on marble showing a series of people
Ronald Pope, The Corridor, 1977. Image courtesy of Derby Museums. https://www.derbymuseumsfromhome.com/current-exhibitions-displays-posts/process-and-progress-the-creative-journeys-of-ronald-pope

Dudley Museum and Art Gallery

The Dudley Museum and Art Gallery’s website is definitely worth checking out. It’s got plenty of information about their collections and displays. You can explore and learn about their geology collections on their website. If you’re fascinated in local history, their website highlights information about Dudley Castle, local heroes, and more! 

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An oil on canvas painting of the tropical birdhouse at Dudley Zoo circa 1906
Percy Shakespear, Tropical Bird House Dudley Zoo, 1906.
Dudley Museums Service; https://www.dudley.gov.uk/things-to-do/museums/collections/the-tropical-bird-house/

The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry

The Herbert have teamed up with Google Arts and Culture in order to make their exhibition ‘Quinn: A Journey’ available to view at home. The exhibition follows the fictional story of a young man named Quinn who walks across the UK in post-second world war Britain. The exhibition thoughtfully explores trauma and memory. The format of the exhibition on Google Arts and Culture allows you to fully experience the exhibition and view every work closely and intimately.

The Herbert are also sharing different works on their social media everyday, and have a lot of learning from home resources available on their website.  

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Exhibition image of 'Quinn: A Journey' at the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery in Coventry
Exhibition image of ‘Quinn: A Journey’ at The Herbert. Image courtesy of The Herbert.

Leamington Spa Art Gallery

Leamington Spa Art Gallery have been producing plenty of crafting at home videos on their Instagram TV and YouTube channel. If you’re interested in pottery they have a whole series of videos that teach you how to produce pottery at home – I have ordered some clay and tools and cannot wait for them to arrive so I can start! There’s also plenty of videos specifically aimed for kids if you’re looking for something to do with the family. 

You can also view their entire ceramics exhibition, ‘Making Histories’, online, which features a video tour!

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An image of a clay pot that has not yet been fired. The text reads 'ART AT HOME: COIL POTS'
Cover image for ‘Art at Home: Coil Pots’ video. Image courtesy of Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum


Still looking for more at-home art content? Make sure you’re up to date with all Midland Art Papers articles!

Cover image: Travelling Companions from ‘Covid-19: We Shall Overcome’. Credit to Lisa Karra and Anthony Hansle. lisakarra.myportfolio.comInstagram / Twitter


Author: Jen Wilbur

A final year undergrad student studying History of Art at the University of Birmingham. They are the Undergraduate Research Scholar 2019-2020 for Midlands Art Papers.

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