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British Motoring Treasures

British Motoring Treasures Exhibition 1

The British Motor Car in Fifty Objects

This new exhibition, funded by Arts Council England, tells the story of Britain’s motor industry using fifty objects, each of which has its own story, whether it be a ground-breaking invention or a piece of social history. Showcasing the depth and variety of our nationally-designated collections, the exhibition includes archive material, artwork, publicity material, signs and tools.

Among the fifty objects are the 1899 Wolseley Voiturette, the first 4-wheel car that Herbert Austin designed, an original sketch from 1944 by Alec Issigonis of the ‘Mosquito’, and a publicity booklet from 1910 issued by the Shell Company that throws new light on the ill-fated Antarctic expedition led by Captain Scott.

From the Curator

“This exhibition celebrates the rich history of an industry that has dominated the economic and social development of the West Midlands region for more than a century. The curatorial and archive teams have worked together to find fifty objects which they feel give visitors a flavour of the many hidden treasures within our collection.”

Stephen Laing, Curator, British Motor Museum

1965 sectioned Austin Mini

Developing the Exhibition

Choosing the fifty objects for this exhibition involved many discussions and much compromise. Staff from our curatorial, archive and learning teams all contributed to the final selection and each had their own favourites.

Hear from three members of staff on their involvement in the exhibition development:

  • Tim Bryan's Favourite British Motoring Treasure

    Tim Bryan, Head of Collections and Interpretation at the British Motor Museum, tells us about one of the fifty items on display within the British Motoring Treasures exhibition - a motor oil can datin...
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  • Catherine Griffin's Favourite British Motoring Treasure

    Catherine Griffin, Curatorial Trainee at the British Motor Museum, has chosen to talk about one of her favourite objects - a Rover Group stereolithographic component which was used to create a prototy...
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  • An interview with Alice Vernon, Education and Lifelong Learning Trainee

    Alice Vernon, Education and Lifelong Learning Trainee at the British Motor Museum, has chosen to talk about an air-raid warden’s rattle which was designed to warn factory workers of an approaching a...
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The People's 50

The story doesn’t end there. Running alongside the main exhibition, a ‘People’s 50’ will be compiled. These motoring treasures will be chosen by local community groups, ex car industry employees and museum staff, with the chosen object representing their personal part of the story of the British motor industry.  These fifty objects will be displayed in rotation over the coming year and their stories can be followed on the People's 50 page.

Hidden Treasures Trail

Alongside the exhibition we are running a Hidden Treasures Trail allowing visitors to discover other treasures from our collection which didn’t make it into the exhibition but which are on display in the Museum. Visitors can explore these in their own time by picking up a trail.

Tickets & Information

The British Motoring Treasures exhibition opened on Friday 19 May 2017. Entrance to the exhibition is included in the standard Museum and Show day admission.

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