A History Through Objects: Research and Innovation at the University of Birmingham

Since its origin, researchers at the University of Birmingham have created and discovered new things, improved people’s health and provided new ways of understanding the world and our place in it. From the sciences and the arts, their ground-breaking achievements have been recognised and honoured at national and international level, including the Nobel Prize.

This exhibition showcases a range of historical and contemporary examples of research and discovery, created in Birmingham with global reach - affecting the lives of millions of people around the world. Through objects, the exhibition tells the stories of the research itself, the people behind it and those whose lives have been changed by it.

About the exhibition

Cavity Magnetron Anode Block, 1940s, copper

When: 9th May 2022 - 28th July 2023, Mon-Fri, 9-5. Please note that the exhibition will not be accessible on any University closed days

 Where: Throughout the Aston Webb Building including the ground floor corridors and Rotunda Gallery (first floor)

Admission: Free



The exhibition is organised across five themes:

Live longer, live better

In this corridor we will take a look at how advances in research have enabled us to elongate and improve human life – addressing illness, inequality, justice and choice.  

Climate and planet

Further down the corridor you can discover how, through our research, we better understand the Earth, and are rethinking energy and sustainability.  

Sound and communication

In the opposite corridor towards the Bramall Music Building (and also upstairs), you can explore innovations in sound and technology, the musical life of the city and the medium of performance as communicator. 

Seeing the invisible

Upstairs in the Rotunda Gallery, you will discover new technologies and ways of measuring that have enabled us to see things previously unseen – from the depths of the Earth to the farthest reaches of space. 

New ways of reading things

Expand your mind and discover alternative ways of looking and finding – how we gain new learning from old things, and how viewing a subject through a different lens can help us see a whole lot more. 

 The image credits for the A History Through Objects: Research and Innovation at the University of Birmingham introductory leaflet can be found here.