The Barber Institute of Fine Arts 

Support the Barber Institute today

Nearly 80 years ago, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts was founded on philanthropy. Now, philanthropy has a role to play in supporting world-class facilities for this world-class collection. Help us build a new exhibition gallery, new learning spaces, and new and improved visitor facilities.

Barber Institute Mission Statement "to promote the study and encouragement of art and music for the University of Birmingham and the wider public"

The University is privileged to have the Barber Institute on its campus, and countless numbers of students, staff, alumni, and visitors have enjoyed free access to this precious collection for the better part of a century. For many, the Barber was their first experience of fine arts or classical music, and it is widely and fondly remembered.

This redevelopment will result in new exhibition and education spaces, and new visitor facilities. These will allow us to host more temporary exhibitions, minimise the disruption to our own collections, broaden our lifelong learning and outreach activities, and engage new audiences for years to come. 

Think of how often you visited the Barber Institute for free, and give now to support the arts and cultural enrichment.

To discuss how you might support the Barber, contact Nick Blinco [+44(0)121 414 6953].

Why do we need this redevelopment? 

In 2005, the Barber was one of only five galleries outside of London to receive five stars in Britain’s Best Museums and Galleries. Two others were the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University, and Cambridge University’s Fitzwilliam Museum. Both of these have undergone major redevelopments in recent years, driven by philanthropic support.

In danger of falling behind, the Barber requires urgent and significant redevelopment. The activities in the galleries and associated spaces have long since expanded beyond those originally envisaged, meaning that the space too needs expanding as the Barber seeks to promote new exhibitions, attract new audiences, and engage partner institutions and the local community.

What will the redevelopment include?

New, permanent exhibition gallery: a new gallery will mean that we do not need to move our permanent collections in order to accommodate temporary exhibitions. This will ensure that the security and conservation of the collection is maintained, and will mean we no longer have to temporarily remove some of our famous permanent works, a source of disappointment for many visitors. The new gallery will enable us to broaden our exhibitions and partnerships within the University and with other galleries from around the U.K. and the world.

New Learning Room and Family Space: a new Learning Room for schools will significantly improve our ability to host group visits. It will include cloakrooms and a lunch room, with an improved ‘learning gallery’.

New café facility: the disappointing lack of refreshment options at the Barber is a recurrent feature in visitor surveys. We will provide a café and conservatory area, providing additional, welcoming space for visitors to spend time and to take lunch. The success of museum cafés is well documented and can transform visitor numbers.