If they build it, they will come

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery have just come into some money, £300,000, and they’re going to use it to create a gallery showing Birmingham’s history from medieval times to the present day. I’m sure we used to have something a bit like this (a local history room anyway).

But anyway — apart from getting some of the industrial history stuff back from Thinktank, digging out the system that did push-button playback of “I can’t find old Brummagem” and providing some of the Library’s Baskerville collection — with a decent home what should it have?

Here’s some suggestions:

  • Dennis Mortimer’s beard from when villa won the European cup.
  • Every plan and architects model for a regenerated Brum, all google-earthed up and you can rum simulations of how the city would have looked if they’d come to pass.
  • An interactive exhibit that  allows you to do the voice over for Telly Savalas looks at Birmingham – a bit like Singstar where you have to match the pitch, speed and not laugh when you claim to have “dallied in Dale End”.
  • Dana International – well she’s not doing anything at the moment.
  • A “how we used to stuff our faces” section, including replica RTP crisps (thanks @regengirl), the first balti pies (from Walsall’s ground), whatever retro sweets Cadbury are knocking out that week, Frosty Jack’s Cider, Highgate Mild – plenty of merchandising opportunities.
  • A diorama depicting how Brum was at the time of the Doomesday book (a small holding worth a pound apparently) – for bonus points the medieval man should stand near a goat and look suspiciously like Benny from Crossroads.
  • An anamatronic Carl Chinn, that eventually goes crazy Westworld style, lecturing all and sundry about local history.
  • A “how the museum used to be” section – with a papier-mâché T-Rex (meta I know).

Your turn…

4 comments for “If they build it, they will come

  1. 26 August 2008 at 8:08 pm

    How could you! You forgot the hedgehog-flavoured crisps.

  2. 26 August 2008 at 9:36 pm

    I didn’t know hedgehog-flavoured crisps were Brum-specific? If so – a great addition.

  3. Lazers
    27 August 2008 at 12:39 am

    1) A retrospective of the old adverts that encouraged families to move from Birmingham into the new towns. I’m sure that I once saw a great 1960’s art rendition of a sunny day in a park featuring a happy family of four and a deliriously happy looking dog. The tagline was written in jaunty letters above and simply read “The sun always shines in Redditch”. I’m sure that the ASA will be having words.

    2) A ‘whack-a-mole’ type game with a skyline of Birmingham. They give you a foam mallet and you get to flatten the ugly buildings that were belched up when some clever so and so discovered concrete.

    3) A set of canal cross sections that show the Worcester to Birmingham over the years… Starting as a perfect solution to industrial transport problems and the elegant solutions along the route, then as a great place to put shopping trolleys, prophylactics and eels, and as it seems now, quite picturesque again in most places.

    4) A man with a face as long as Livery Street (did anyone else get told that expression?)

    5) A design competition to show how New Street could look, and how it once looked before concrete. Plus a use for the other platforms at Moor Street.

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