Home of Metal was a series of events and exhibitions celebrating heavy metal music and its cultural heritage in Birmingham and the Black Country. The programme paid tribute to local bands who helped shape the genre globally and also examined the social history of heavy metal’s birthplace.
Home of Metal used the popularity of heavy metal music to create a successful series of heritage events, attended by more than 200,000 people. It enabled the people of Birmingham and the Black Country to learn about and take pride in their heritage. The project also reached a national and international audience, raising the profile of the area and attracting many visitors.
The major exhibition, which formed the central focus of the programme, recreated a 1960s factory and included film footage and memorabilia. It offered a detailed insight into the social history of the West Midlands and showed how the area’s character shaped heavy metal. The exhibition revealed, for example, how Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi developed his singular way of playing guitar after he injured his hand in a terrible accident while working in one of the local sheet metal factories.
The digital archive is unique because it was created with contributions from fans donating their memorabilia. Not only is it an authentic resource for heavy metal fans the world over, it’s also a lasting and evolving legacy. Some of the Lottery funding was spent on recording equipment which captured the project throughout its process and was also used to film interviews with heavy metal stars.
The project was aimed at a broad audience, from music fans to those interested in history and culture. Its range of family events was inclusive of all ages. It also attracted new audiences, with 35 per cent of all visitors to the exhibitions visiting a museum or gallery for the first time. Furthermore, it engaged at least 80 volunteers in activities and events. Says Max Bailey from the Black Country Arts Partnership, who supported the project: “Home of Metal has been the most successful festival in the Black Country in recent history, attracting more media and broadcast coverage than any other event or festival.”
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