Museum and Art Gallery

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Museum and Art Gallery in Birmingham stands in the city centre, in the Chamberlain Square. It partly shares the building with the Council House, the extended part that was built shortly after the original building (designed by the same architect, Yeoville Thomason). The Council House Extension block (built in 1911 – 1919) also belongs to the Museum and Art Gallery. The two parts are connected via an elaborate archway, originally a corridor. The whole building is listed Grade II. The main entrance is from the Chamberlain Square, below the “Big Brum” clock tower. The Extension Block has entrances via the Gas Hall (Edmund Street) and Great Charles Street.

The Museum and Art Gallery was opened in 1885. It contains over forty galleries and two major exhibition spaces; Gas Hall, originally part of the Gas Department being the one and Waterhall, once part of the Water Department the other. The building was bomb damaged in 1940 and during the1950s some of the building was adapted for other purposes. The gallery space was reinstated between 1980 and 1986. The Gas Hall was opened in 1993 and the Waterhall in 2001.

The collections of the Museum and Art Gallery cover fine art and applied arts, ceramics, metalwork, jewellery, archeology and ethnography, natural history and social history. The Museum has, as well, the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite works in the world, together with the Old Masters and Impressionists. There is also changing programme of temporary exhibitions in the main gallery and in the Gas Hall. The modern and contemporary collections have had a new home created in the Waterhall Gallery of Modern Art. Entrance to the Museum and Art Gallery is free, though some exhibitions in the Gas Hall may have an entrance charge.
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