In pictures: Magical history tour at Birmingham collection centre

It looks like a scene from Night at the Museum.

In pictures: Magical history tour at Birmingham collection centre

This steam tractor, called Busy Bee, is the largest exhibit at the centre and weighs five tons

This is the mammoth collection of artefacts being that have been amassed from nine different locations.

The Museum Collections Centre in Birmingham, houses around 80 per cent of the artefacts in the Birmingham Museums Trust and holds over 800,000 pieces.

With a focus on Birmingham and the West Midlands, visitors often find themselves lost down memory lane, and sometimes physically lost, since the site spans one-and-a-half hectares.

And, with such a large collection, it’s no surprise that some of the artefacts are massive – in some cases weighing well over 5,000 kg.

While there are plenty of stuffed animals, the centre has some pretty bizarre finds, notably a giant spider crab which, according to Emily Locke, a collections support officer, is gargantuan. She said: “The oldest artefacts we have here are prehistoric stone tools, which are around two-and-a-half million years old and made by early humans. They include hand axes which are often described as the first Swiss army knife.

“Among the 800,000 objects, we have some special pieces that range from the massive to bizarre. While there’s a steamroller which is certainly one of the heavier pieces, we’ve also got the giant spider crab.

“We are constantly making sure that we care for the different collections in the right way, though. We have to monitor the light, temperature and humidity levels throughout the building and make sure that there aren’t any pests.

“I really enjoy just being able to spend time down in the store with the collection – I love sharing the moments when we manage to uncover the story behind an object as it’s always so fascinating.

“Safe-keeping, and being able to access our cultural heritage, is a fundamental part of why we do it – so people can know our shared history.”

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