The Culture24/7: Top history exhibitions for September 2013 in our heritage round-up

By Ben Miller | 02 September 2013

Lots of openings this month: The Library of Birmingham sets off with frenetic fun, while the Ashmolean takes over a beautiful new building and thousands of heritage sites invite everyone in for Heritage Open Days...

A photo of a woman holding up a circular green sign with the word play written on it
Have fun with history at the enormous new Library of Birmingham this month© Library of Birmingham
Discovery Season, Library of Birmingham, Birmingham

The swish new Library of Birmingham’s inaugural five-photographer exhibition is a portrait of the city through its characters. And it’s the tip of the towering iceberg in an opening month (and beyond) of talks, tours and an exhibition inspired by the technical drawings of Birmingham-based inventors Boulton and Watt.

Ashmolean Museum Broadway, Broadway, opens September 7

Having snapped up benefactor John Keil’s offer of a long-term lease to a charity keen on the Grade II-listed, 17th century Tudor House in a Cotswold village, the Ashmolean has filled it with many of the art-historical treasures its Oxford museum is adored for. Look out for porcelain, silver and a Samuel Barrow long case clock from more than 300 years ago.

Heritage Open Days, various venues, September 12-15

From a garden the exact size of Noah’s Ark in Penzance to Victorian railway stations in Northumberland, thousands of usually-hidden heritage sites incite nosiness again this year. Culture24’s Rosie Clarke has picked 14 to look out for.

British dance: Black routes, International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, from September 13

With nods to empowerment against slavery, curators in Liverpool explore the important contributions made by black British dancers between 1946 and 2006. They start with Elroy Josephz, a Jamaican dancer, teacher, actor and producer who performed in the West End and toured his own dance company before heading to Merseyside to become one of the country’s first black dance lecturers.

Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Festival, Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire, September 21

An annual celebration of industrial Shropshire’s World Heritage Site status – bestowed by UNESCO in 1986 – Shropshire’s September throwback festival teems the shadows of the 18th century bridge with talks, walks, crafts, food, live performances and family fun.

Roman Empire: Power and People, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol, from September 21

Indomitable symbolism, pomp and glittering treasures on the debut outing for a British Museum exhibition featuring more than 160 artefacts. Highlights include sculpture from the villas of two Emperors, coins from the Haxne treasure and pristinely-preserved children’s clothing.

Brutal and Beautiful: Saving the 20th Century, Wellington Arch, London, from September 25

On the centenary of the Ancient Monuments Act, the fourth of five special exhibitions considers why oft-debated post-war listings proved so important. Many of the architects and commissioners offer their insights on a path between 1945 and 1980, from modernism to brutalism and Regent’s Park to the South Bank.

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