#6 Wolverhampton Art Gallery

My name is Mar Dixon and I would like to adopt Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Wolverhampton Art Gallery (Photograph by Mar Dixon)

Tell us a bit more about yourself

I live in Shropshire. I’m a lecturer in ICT and an Internal Verifier for Teaching Assistants. I’m in my second Year at Uni for my Teaching Qual and I’m a Cultural Critical Friend. You find me on Twitter umder @MarDixon and @CultureThemes, a multinational group of museum professionals with a passion for promoting and preserving museums, libraries, galleries, and heritage properties worldwide.

Tell us a bit more about your adopted museum
Wolverhampton Art Gallery (@WolvArtGallery) is set on two floors in a glorious building that was established in 1884 and developed by Phillip Horseman who offered to build it on donated council land. It is a council run gallery and is free. There is a cafe within the gallery that is renowned in the local area for its cakes and food. The gift shop has items available for any price range and strives to ensure it not only sells items related to the works within the gallery, but also local artists’ works. The Gallery also does A LOT for the local community and offers events for ALL ages and abilities so that everyone can become an active participant, and they have a wonderful ‘Friends’ scheme which strives to work with the Gallery ensuring it’s longevity.

Why have you chosen to adopt this museum?
Wolverhampton Art Gallery is one of my local museums. I visit it as often as I can, and also always make sure any visitors have the opportunity to go. It builds memories on every visit and the amount of community work they are involved with just doesn’t get out into the media. For example, once a month, they have a Seeing and Hearing group that has a curator describe certain paintings or exhibitions ensuring the particiapants can feel the painting, if not see it. I have often sat in on these monthly meetings with my daughter as it allowed for us to see the painting differently than what we saw with our eyes. They have a wonderful access policy for all art work they own. If there is something that is no longer on display, you can ask the Collection’s Manager for access to see it in the archives. No request is ever denied, although there might be a slight delay if the item is out on loan or unavailable. Additionally, they have a wonderful photograph policy where you sign in to take photographs, which allows you permission to take pictures of absolutely everything within the building EXCEPT for the one room where the designated copy-righted items are located. This system ensures any boundaries are clearly labeled.

Why would you recommend people visit?
Although it’s called an Art Gallery, visiting there is actually an experience.  It may sound clichéd, but there really is something for everyone.  They have the second biggest collection of Pop Art outside London, with talks for the majority of their exhibitions to ensure everyone can understand the pieces. In contrast, they also have a fabulous exhibition of Victorian/ Georgian art, which was the basis of the museum when it was started, as well as a sensory room for kids of all ages where you are encouraged to touch, smell, listen and absorb all the items. Our favourites include the Sensory Drawers where you have to try and identify the contents just by touching. They also hold amazing guest events, striving to get artists in to discuss their works, and if the artists can’t make it they try to get someone closely related.

How would you sum up your museum in three words?
Top Art Gallery

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