Originally founded by Act of Parliament in 1854 for the ‘Diffusion and Advancement of Science, Literature and Art amongst all Classes of Persons resident in Birmingham and Midland Counties’. The BMI is a membership organisation which has a thriving programme of cultural and educational activities, which includes a wide spectrum of arts and science lectures, exhibitions and concerts. Both members and the general public are encouraged to participate. The building is also a venue for many externally-organised events and can be booked for conferences and meetings.
The Institute also owns and runs the original Birmingham Library, founded in 1779. The Library collection is gradually growing by the regular purchase of new books, principally on the field of humanities and modern fiction.
The Institute owns and runs an extensive Grade II*- listed building, with a number of rooms and theatres available for hire. By hiring a room in our building, you are also contributing to the BMI’s charitable aims; revenue raised from room hire contributes to our cultural programme.
Come and join us for workshops, day schools, recitals and more! Available for both members and none members.
The BMI is also home to the original Birmingham Library that was founded in 1779 by John Lee, a button manufacturer who lived at 115 Snow Hill. This private lending library was reorganised in 1781 by Joseph Priestley, the pioneering chemist who discovered oxygen.