Perfumes, pencils and partnership preparations - exclusive events at Birmingham Museums

A curiously aromatic tour, an afternoon of vintage wedding dresses and an evening of social sketching are three of the more unusual happenings in the heart of Birmingham this spring, in a series of exclusive events at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Museum Collections Centre.

One of London’s most highly-sought olfactory tour guides, Odette Toilette, will lead an intimate scented exploration of the museum’s world class collection of Pre-Raphaelite artworks on the evening of Friday 8 April.  She will be accompanied by curator Victoria Osborne for a perfumed expedition that adds the fragrant aroma of historic perfumes to the colour of the paintings.  With the museum closed to other visitors, participants’ minds can focus on a multi-sensory experience like no other!

The ‘Led by the Nose’ tours each last one hour, with sensory explorers invited to gather half an hour before the tours to have their tastebuds tickled with a glass of prosecco.  Tours depart in small groups at 6.30pm and 8.00pm, with tickets available for £16.50.  Prebooking is essential by calling 0121 348 8038 or online at

The artistry of nuptials is explored in a special afternoon event on Friday 20 May at the Museum Collections Centre in Nechells, when curators will bring a selection of wedding dresses from its stores out for an exclusive viewing.  From the oldest wedding dress in the collection – first worn in 1730 – to vintage styles from the 1960s and ‘70s, participants will have a unique opportunity to see up close, and even handle, some of the gowns.

“Whether you are looking for classic inspiration for your own wedding dress, or just love the exquisite workmanship that goes into creating these once-in-a-lifetime dresses, this special afternoon enables you to see garments that are not on public display and without any glass barrier between you and the dress,” explains Zelina Garland, Curatorial & Exhibitions Manager at Birmingham Museums Trust, who will be leading the afternoon.  “These dresses show how bridal fashion has changed and developed over the last three centuries, and attendees will uncover the history of the wedding dress with this exclusive exploration of our bridal collection.”

The Vintage Wedding Dress Afternoon runs from 1pm to 4pm at the Museum Collections Centre, 25 Dolman Street, Nechells.  Tickets are £35 per person, including a mid-afternoon break for tea and cake.  Tickets should be prebooked by calling 0121 348 8038 or online at

The focus moves from looking at – or smelling – great artworks to creating new ones on the evening of 22 April, when the Edwardian Tearooms host an adult-only “Drink & Draw” session as part of Birmingham Comic Festival, following a highly successful event in January which saw 450 amateur artists descend on the tearooms!

“There has been a huge resurgence in interest in drawing and colouring in the last year, with colouring books for adults hitting the bestseller lists, so our free ‘drink and draw’ events are perfect for anyone who fancies a sociable doodling session – a pencil in one hand, and a drink in the other!” comments Alex Nicholson-Evans, Commercial Development Manager at Birmingham Museums Trust.  “Sketchers can draw their inspiration from the galleries as they walk to the Edwardian Tearooms, which will be open from 5pm.  Pencils and paper are provide, with the ‘drink and draw’ running from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.”

For more information on exclusive events at Birmingham Museums, please visit


Notes to Editors

Birmingham Museums Trust is an independent charity that manages the city’s museum collection and venues on behalf of Birmingham City Council.  It uses the collection of around 800,000 objects to provide a wide range of arts, cultural and historical experiences, events and activities that deliver accessible learning, creativity and enjoyment for citizens and visitors to the city.  Most areas of the collection are designated as being of national importance, including the finest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world.  Attracting over one million visits a year, the Trust’s venues include Aston Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Blakesley Hall, Museum Collections Centre, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill, Soho House, Thinktank and Weoley Castle.

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, Arts Council England plans to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins

Pyper York Limited

Tel:         01904 500698