Children’s Lives, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund,will be the first major project in Birmingham and the West Midlands to consider children’s lived experiences from the 18th century to the present day. The project will draw on the designated and nationally acclaimed collections of archives, artefacts, oral histories and film material relating to the lives of children in the past held by Birmingham Archives & Heritage, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Media Archive of Central England.
The project will consist of a series of interrelated activities. These will include an exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery opening in February 2012. The exhibition will explore the different ways people have thought about childhood as a stage of life, the relationships of children with their families and peers, the experiences of children in school, at work, and at the hands of various welfare institutions, and the ways that children have imagined the world. The exhibition will present the diversity of the city in all its forms, for example, ethnicity, gender, class, disability etc. Children’s Lives will draw extensively on Birmingham’s collections to bring the voice of the child out of the archive and museum and in so doing will draw the past and the present into sharper focus.