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Museums and galleries; Gain a sense of our region's proud history at these attractions.

Thinktank Kids will love a day out at Birmingham's Science Museum, which also includes a planetarium and IMAX cinema. You'll be hard pushed to fit it all in a day, what with the museum's collections covering everything from natural sciences to science and industry, special school classes and workshops, galleries and visiting exhibitions, which includes the current dinosaur-themed events.

Half term activities include The Gene-ration Game (daily at 2.15pm), The Gene Genie (suitable for under 8s, 12pm), Object Handling (3pm) and Gen(ie) in a bottle (over 10s at 12.45pm, pounds 1.95 to Thinktank visitors). Black Country Living Museum Discover a fascinating world when you visit Black Country Living Museum, the urban heritage park in the shadow of Dudley Castle.

Historic buildings from all around the Black Country have been moved and authentically rebuilt at the museum, to create a tribute to the traditional skills and enterprise of the people that once lived in the heart of industrial Britain.

Electric tramcars and trolleybuses transport visitors back in time from the modern exhibition halls to the canal-side village, where costumed demonstrators and working craftsmen bring the buildings to life with their local knowledge, practical skills and unique Black Country humour.

You can sample traditional fish and chips from the 1930s fish shop and enjoy a pint in the Bottle and Glass Inn (pictured below). Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery It's all too easy to overlook BM&AG (as it's abbreviated) for a day out in half term; don't.

As well as the permanent art collection (which boasts one of the best sets of Pre-Raphaelite art), current exhibitions include Brilliantly Birmingham and a look at British Watercolours from 1800-1850. There are also the countless rooms of archaeology, social history and Birmingham History Galleries.

Take a break in the fabulous Edwardian Tea Rooms and visit the shop.

Best of all, admission is free. Barber Institute of Fine Arts The phrase 'hidden gem' has never been truer when it comes to this art gallery on the grounds of the University of Birmingham. Where else in the West Midlands - or the UK for that matter - could you see an art collection that features Van Gogh, Degas, Turner, Ingres, Manet, Monet, Gauguin and Magritte - to name a few.

As well as the permanent collections of painting, works on paper, sculpture and coins, there are regular musical performances and temporary exhibitions - the current Going Dutch - Golden Age Treasures from the Holburne & Barber Collections, ends February 28.

Admission is free. Ikon Gallery Set in the picturesque Oozells Square in Brindleyplace, the Ikon is Birmingham's home of contemporary art.

Housed in the former Oozells Street School, the programme of exhibitions across the Ikon's two floors is always varied and thought provoking - whether or not you like or 'get' everything there is another matter. Current exhibitions include We They, We They by American artist Clare Rojas and the wonderfully titled work by Portuguese artists Jo...o Maria Gusm...o and Pedro Paiva - On the Movement of the Fried Egg and Other Astronomical Bodies.

Brindleyplace's many bars and restaurants are close by, but the gallery has its own wonderful Cafe Ikon serving traditional tapas - perfect to relax over and discuss what you've just seen.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 12, 2010
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