The Romans were here and set up Metchley fort, the site now on Birmingham University grounds, but this permanent exhibition really kicks off with Peter de Birmingham and the granting of a market charter in 1166, 80 years after the tiny village which is now the second city was mentioned in the Domesday Book.
Metal manufacturing around the industrial revolution, buttons, medals, Murdoch, Boulton and Watt, the contribution of settlers from around the country and the world - including Germans such as Conrad Köchler who made medallions at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, and C. Brandauer who founded a metals company about 150 years ago (pen making at first) which still exists, as well as Oscar Deutsch who founded the Odeon Cinema chain but who actually came from Hungary.
The former slave Equiano spoke here in 1790 to promote his "Interesting Narrative" (and there's a separate small exhibition about him in the Museum).
Peter Stanford was the first black minister in 1887, moving here from America to run Hope Street Baptist Church.
Mendelssohn (Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy for German speakers!) conducted the first performance of Elijah in the Town Hall in 1846, and any Brummie can be proud to see a concert programme from that concert in the Mendelssohn house museum on Leipzig!
Chris Upton's fascinating "A history of Birmingham" must be the standard work on the subject, available at all good bookshops as they say, including the Museum shop, appropriately enough.