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Birmingham Museums commemorate the First World War

Frank, Eliz, TomFour year programme

To commemorate the First World War, Birmingham Museums will host a series of events, exhibitions and activities encouraging visitors to discover the vital role the people of Birmingham played in the war efforts. Through displays of artefacts, photos, letters and other personal items, visitors can explore the real stories and memories of those involved in the war. In addition, there will be a programme of adult talks, drama performances and workshops.

At Blakesley Hall, a new exhibition ‘Tom, Frank and May’ opens 12 April 2014. This exhibition introduces visitors to Thomas Merry and his wife Elizabeth who lived in Blakesley Hall from 1901 – 1932. Like many families at the time, the couple’s children (Tom, Frank and May) all played a part in the First World War, but in very different ways. Tom joined the Army Service Corps (responsible for many of the logistics of the army), Frank was part of the Artists Rifles, and May worked in a military hospital in France. Through video, photographs, medals and letters from the family’s archive, visitors to Blakesley Hall can discover the true effect of the war on one family.

From 14 June 2014, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter will display ‘An Adaptable Trade’ exhibition, of artefacts, posters, photographs and stories about the recruitment of soldiers from the Jewellery Quarter; the changing role of women in the industry during war years; and, the local employment of ex-soldiers disabled. In addition, in September 2014, there will be a series of special promenade drama performances.

These exhibitions and events have been made possible through a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

An exhibition entitled ‘Soldier’s Stories: Birmingham and the Royal Regiment’ will open at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on 2 August 2014. Bringing together personal items, medals and correspondence belonging to men who fought in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. In addition, throughout 2014, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery will hold a series of gallery tours in the Birmingham History Galleries, focussing on the home front, particularly the role of industry, the effect the war had on families in Birmingham, an its legacy on the city.

These events are part of a four year programme, commemorating the centenary. For further information visit www.birminghammuseums.org.uk

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