Published on 31/08/17

The BMI opens its doors for Heritage Open Days and Birmingham Heritage Week

The Birmingham & Midland Institute opens its doors for a special open day event in conjunction with Heritage Open Days and Birmingham Heritage Week. On Saturday 9 September the building will be open for the general public to explore from 10am to 4pm. The Institute’s Grade II listed building is one of Birmingham’s hidden gems; there will also be a chance for visitors to discover the original Birmingham Library, established in 1779.

Learn about the illustrious history of the BMI with Dr Connie Wan, the Institute’s Programme Development Manager, who will be giving a series of talks and guided tours on the day. Visitors will also have the chance to discover the extensive building themselves through self-guided tours; this will be an exclusive opportunity to see areas not usually accessible to visitors.

The BMI will be hosting its first Birmingham and Midland History Fair, featuring stalls from local history and cultural organisations including the Victorian Society, the Friends of Keyhill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries and Balsall Heath Local History Society. For family-tree enthusiasts, the Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry will be running free drop-in workshops on how to trace ancestors. Join the Society for the History of Astronomy who will also be hosting visitors in their specially-designated library. In addition to this there will be a chance to get a few treats and bargains at the vintage book and bake sale to help raise funds for the Birmingham Library.

In addition to the Open Day on Saturday 9 September, the Birmingham Library will also be open to visitors on Friday 8 September 11am – 4pm.

Entry to all of these events is absolutely free.

Loyd Grossman, Patron of Heritage Open Days, said: “At a time when many of our heritage sites, museums and buildings of cultural interest are under increasing economic pressure it’s heart-warming to see the number of Heritage Open Days events continue to grow. Our army of volunteers play an important role in championing our wonderfully diverse local heritage, opening up doors and keeping access free for these very special four days every year. We are keen to encourage people to stand up for the places that are important to them by bringing to life their stories for everyone to enjoy.”

‘This is a landmark year for us, when we are focusing on more diverse histories than ever before,” says Annie Reilly, Manager of Heritage Open Days. “We have artists looking at Alan Turing with a fresh lens and uncovering the love story of WWII soldiers Gilbert and Gordon, as well as the story of the first mosque in England, and the opening of secret tunnels used by mills workers in Shipley. History is stories, all our stories, and this year, Heritage Open Days is a true celebration of that.”

Philip Fisher, Administrator and General Secretary of the BMI, said: “We are delighted to be taking part in Heritage Open Days and Birmingham Heritage Week this year. It’s the perfect chance for people to see behind the scenes at the Institute, as well as learn about our history and heritage. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors old and new.”

BMI building will be open 10.30am – 4pm. Talks and guided tours with Dr Connie Wan take place at 11am and 1pm, to book a place please call 0121 2363591. Places are limited so booking is essential. All other activities on the day are free and drop-in.