Manchester Museum

Image: The Manchester Museum entrance
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Encounter Manchester Museum’s assortment of treasures from the natural world and the many cultures it is home to. Visitor favourites include dinosaurs, mummies and live amphibians and reptiles.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Daily: 10am-5pm
24-26 Dec, 1 Jan: closed

Admission charges

Free entry

Manchester Museum’s collection is made up of 4.5 million items from the natural world and human cultures.

The natural environments collections include Zoology (animals and birds), Vivarium (live amphibians and reptiles), Botany (plants), Entomology (insects), Palaeontology (pre-historic life including fossils and dinosaurs), Geology (the Earth’s materials such as rocks) and Mineralogy (minerals). The human cultures collections include Archaeology (Mediterranean, European and Western Asiatic), Egyptology, Anthropology (people and cultures), Numismatics (money) and Archery.

Made up of a series of impressive Gothic style buildings at the heart of The University of Manchester, the Museum was designed by Alfred Waterhouse in 1885.

The museum’s entire collection is a Designated Collection of national importance.

You can search the Museum's collection via their website - or research objects in the Museum's Collections Study Centre -

Collection details

World Cultures, Weapons and War, Social History, Religion, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Archives, Archaeology

Key artists and exhibits

  • Spider Crab
  • T.rex
  • Vivarium with live snakes, frogs and other reptiles
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Romuald Hazoumè: Dance of the Butterflies

  • 14 February — 31 December 2015 *on now

Dance of the Butterflies is a stunning new art work by one of Africa’s foremost contemporary artists Romuald Hazoumè. It features swarms of multicoloured ‘butterflies’ which will take over the Museum’s Living Worlds gallery, interacting with the Museum’s own collections. Hazoumè, whose work was featured in We Face Forward, the Manchester-wide celebration of West African art and culture in 2012, will return to create this work for Manchester Museum. The hundreds of butterflies are made from off-cuts of vibrant African wax-print fabrics from the artist’s home country of Benin. Dance of the Butterflies represents a very African take on politics, exploitation and the ‘butterfly effect’- the way in which tiny impulses within chaotic systems can lead to unexpectedly serious effects. The display opens to coincide with the reopening of the Whitworth, following a £15million redevelopment.

The Phantoms of Congo River: Photographs by Nyaba Ouedraogo

  • 11 September 2015 — 10 April 2016 *on now

Nyaba L. Ouedraogo is a self-taught photographer born in Burkina Faso, and now working and living between Paris and West Africa. The Phantoms of Congo River is a photography exhibition which is both a ballad to, and a deconstruction of, Joseph Conrad’s famous 19th century novel Heart of Darkness, which explored European colonialism and racism through the journey of an ivory transporter down the Congo River. Ouedraogo constructs his own scenes from the Congo, re-enacting scenes from the novel and following the journey taken in it, while questioning notions of savagery and the residues of colonialism. This exploration of territory through photography reminds us both of the development of colonial Africa, and the rich history of the people who live on the Congo’s banks. Ouedraogo’s photographs will be accompanied by some of Manchester Museum’s own objects from the Congo.

The setting for the images is the riverbanks of Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo. The artist describes the works as ‘photographic poetry’
he uses the language of rituals and the mystical to express his vision, as opposed to describing the reality of life. Ouedraogo’s photographs are structured around oppositions
violence and peace, shadows and light, and show the humanity of life on the Congo River.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed

  • 8 October 2015 — 17 April 2016 *on now

This fascinating exhibition presents and explores ancient Egyptian animal mummies, prepared in their millions as votive offerings to the gods.

Gifts for the Gods explains the background behind this religious practice in the context of life in ancient Egypt and the environment in which the animals lived.

It explores the British fascination with Egypt, the discovery of animal mummies by British excavators, and how the mummies ended up in the UK, as well as taking a look at the history and future of their scientific study in Manchester.

The display combines mummified specimens such as jackals, crocodiles, cats and birds with cultural artefacts such as stone sculpture and bronze statuettes, alongside 19th Century works of art and never-seen-before archives.


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Nature Discovery activities: Paper cut Christmas cards and New Years calendars

  • 20 December 2015

Be inspired by the Museum’s collections and create paper cut Christmas & Thank you cards or New Year’s calendars.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Discovery Centre

Drop in to the Discovery Centre for drawing and art activities inspired by The Manchester Museum's collection. Open 11.00-16.00 every Sunday, most Saturdays and during the holidays.

How to obtain

Activities at the Discover Centre are free, drop-in and there is no need to book. Contact for more information.

Big Saturdays

Once a month The Manchester Museum bursts into life for a Big Saturday with art and craft activities, object handling, performance, talks and tours. They run from 11.00-16.00. Big Saturdays also include activities for adults and interested older children.

How to obtain

Most Big Saturday activities are free and drop-in. Some activities may need to be booked on the day and may cost up to £1.50

Magic Carpet

On the last Friday of the month, 10.30-11.30am & 11.30am-12.30pm, Magic Carpet introduces Manchester Museum's collection to under 5s with storytelling, art and craft.

How to obtain

Book on 0161 275 2648 a week before the event, free

Manchester Museum
The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Greater Manchester
M13 9PL


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General information


Information Line

0161 275 2648

Education Booking Line

0161 275 2630


General Office Fax

0161 275 2676

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.