Button World

Sunday 1st January 2006

Until late 2006. Free admission. A family friendly exhibition of thousands of buttons of all shapes, sizes, colours and materials. With games and dressing up activities for children.

Toddler exploring Button World

In 2004 Manchester Art Gallery bought acollection of over 100,000 buttons from Gillian and Alan Meredith. The resulting exhibition Button World includes just part of this amazing array of buttons through the centuries.

From secret military devices, to storytelling pieces of art, buttons encapsulate a whole world of mystery for children to explore and uncover. Button World is a  treasure trove for children, and imaginations will surely to run wild as they explore a kaleidoscope of thousands of buttons of all shapes, sizes, colours and materials. And there’s plenty of playtime too, with an array of activities for children and the young at heart including a pearly king and queen’s dressing up area, a giant Connect Four-style button game, a massive button fuzzy felt interactive and ongoing events to involve the children.

Highlights of the exhibition include buttons depicting scenes from favourite stories such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Aesop’s Fables,  second World War RAF uniform buttons  with secret compasses (1939 – 1945),  and Guiness buttons inspired by their popular advertising campaign 'My goodness, my Guinness'.

Gallery curator, Anthea Jarvis, comments, "The collection of over 100,000 buttons was bought from Gillian and Alan Meredith in 2004 and includes the most weird and wonderful buttons that you could ever imagine. We just wish we had the space to display all of them."

Collector Gillian Meredith, continues, "My fascination with buttons started in 1968 after I re-discovered some buttons that my grandmother had given me as a child. I know from my own grandchildren that they get huge pleasure from collecting things like buttons, and many of us have fond memories of rifling though our mother’s button boxes. Button World will bring this sea of exploration to a whole new generation of children."

Councillor Mark Hackett, Manchester City Council ‘s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said "The purchase of this fantastic collection of buttons has allowed Manchester Art Gallery to offer a magical new exhibition which will appeal to children and adults. Button World is a wonderful contribution to the Gallery’s extensive ‘fun for free’ programme for families. Manchester City Council is grateful for the support of Renaissance North West and the Heritage Lottery Fund in this very worthwhile project."

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For further information, contact Tamsin or Nancy at Fido PR on 0161 274 3311 or email
Manchester Art Gallery's family programme is supported by Renaissance North West, a national £7million funding programme for the region's museums and galleries.