Parts of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery that were boarded up and had not seen daylight for years have finally been unveiled as part of a £9 million history project.
A whole wing of the Victorian museum building has been transformed, paving the way for a permanent exhibition celebrating the history of Birmingham due to open next September.
The work has revealed many architectural features that were boarded up, partitioned or concealed behind suspended ceilings for decades.
Skylights and windows have also emerged giving views of Paradise Circus.
Now a blue Millennium stained glass window, which has gone largely unnoticed for the last decade, is brightening up the stairway entrance to the new Birmingham History Galleries.
The galleries were revealed as builders Thomas Vale Construction handed over the completed rooms to the city council, which will now set about filling them with exhibits that tell the story of Birmingham from its medieval roots through the industrial revolution to the Second World War.
The project was part-funded with a £4.9 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Key exhibits will include a model of medieval Birmingham, a display on the Lunar Society, the Industrial Revolution and its downsides such as the workhouses.
Curators are also looking for stories from the Birmingham public on various aspects of 20th century history, including the Austin motor works, Cadburys, HP, the Lewis’s store, the original Bull Ring, the Super Prix, the Rivers of Blood speech and its effects and early Duran Duran gigs.
City culture boss Coun Martin Mullaney said: “We have opened up windows which were blacked out for decades and now offer views of the Central Library and Great Charles Street.
“The new exhibition space is magnificent and I know staff at the museum are excited at the prospect of fitting out new galleries that I’m sure will be a big hit.”
To find out more visit www.bmag.org.uk