Think Tank

We Made It


Thinktank wanted to develop a new hands-on science gallery that explained to visitors how and why Birmingham became known as ‘the workshop of the world’, and how innovation continues to be part of the cultural identity of the region. In We Made it there are four clear sections – Nuts & Bolts, Treasure, Tins and Things and Gadgets. Nuts and Bolts focuses on Birmingham’s role in making iron and steel goods for the world, but the city is equally famous for its Jewellery Quarter innovations too – hence a Treasure section. Tin and Things spreads the net a little wider, to include aluminium products and Black Country glass-making skills, while Gadgets shows how many different materials are used to make everyday objects from cameras to phones.

The exhibition includes 1,200 individual objects and more than 20 hands-on activities for children.


After being awarded the contract last year, Paragon spent six months designing, developing and constructing the interactives for the ‘We Made It – Nuts, Bolts, Gadgets and Gismos’ exhibition at Thinktank in Birmingham.

Paragon’s scope included the design development, manufacture and successful installation of a large range of engaging interactives, including some that look at car manufacture within the Birmingham area. One of these allows visitors to lower an engine into a car chassis and another involves the assembly of a Mini against the clock.

Each interactive enables visitors to explore the science behind the materials and manufacturing processes that were used historically in Birmingham and each is located alongside original historical objects from the City of Birmingham’s manufacturing and natural science collections.


“Visitors will be able to engage with science through familiar themes and link earth’s resources with working machines,” says Janine Eason, the Director of Learning and Exhibitions, who’s included a Mini you can assemble while you’re there.

“Birmingham and the region have such a rich history of manufacturing. It will be fascinating for families to explore it. We are extremely excited about the opening of the gallery.”

Our client: Think Tank
Designed by: At Large

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