Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has been given a £300,000 Government grant to make a new interactive exhibit describing the city’s history.
The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery said it would be spending the grant on a new gallery which will focus on Birmingham History from 1700 to 1830.
The Birmingham grant was the biggest one from the £4 million Wolfson Fund handed out to 31 museums and galleries around England.
Rita McLean, the head of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery said: “This is magnificent news for the museum and I would like to thank the Department of Culture and the Wolfson Foundation for recognising our need for a gallery that tells the story of Birmingham and that will be of long-term benefit to local, regional and international visitors.
“I am particularly delighted that we have obtained the highest possible funding award from Wolfson and I know that it will be money well spent.”
The decision to create the Birmingham history gallery came after a consultation with the public.
The gallery will feature interactive exhibits, new displays, and hands-on and visual activities to engage visitors, the museum said.
It will be housed in a refurbished gallery space and will ultimately form part of a suite of five interlinked galleries that will tell the story of the city and its people from medieval to modern times.
The 1700-1830 gallery will include pieces of art and objects from the Museums collections including the oil painting “Birmingham from the Dome of St Philip’s” by Samuel Lines Snr, painted in 1821.
Several of Birmingham’s streets can be recognised in the painting although much of the surrounding land was still undeveloped and gives the impression of Birmingham being a country town.
Also among the objects included in the gallery will be eighteenth century pearl buttons from the extensive James Luckcock collection, a Japanned tray showing a view of High Street and a miniature watercolour portrait of Birmingham’s first historian, William Hutton.
Councillor Ray Hassall, cabinet member for Leisure, Sport and Culture at Birmingham City Council, said: “This gallery will address the need to tell the story of the city’s great history to both local people and visitors and will help to keep a fascinating period off our history alive for generations to come.”
The grant given to the museum was part of the annual DCMS/Wolfson Foundation fund for improving national and regional museums and galleries.
Other West Midlands institutions to benefit from the cash include the Coventry Transport Museum, which was awarded £150,000, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in Shropshire, which received £126,000 and the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which was given £30,000.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has had grants from the fund on several previous occasions, most notably for the interactive “In Touch” gallery.
The Government money is a major part of the £1,813,000 funding needed to get the new Birmingham history display off the ground.
Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said: “This year, as before, the DCMS Wolfson Fund is providing support for museums and galleries from all regions of England, backing projects in national institutions, university collections and well-loved local museums and galleries.
“I hope today’s awards will help people all over Britain, particularly those with a disability, have improved access to the wonders of the old, new, beautiful and intriguing objects that are housed in England’s museums and galleries.”