Manchester Museum

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.
Image: The Manchester Museum entrance
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Shop icon Study area icon Hearing disability facilities icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

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.

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.
Moai heads. Photo by Adam Stanford

Making Monuments on Rapa Nui: Statues from Easter Island

  • 1 April — 6 September 2015 *on now

Making Monuments on Rapa Nui
The Statues from Easter Island
1 April-6 September 2015
Manchester Museum
Free entry

The monumental stone statues of Rapa Nui (named Easter Island by European explorers) in the Pacific are some of the most widely recognised archaeological objects in the world. Based on fieldwork on the island by Professor Colin Richards, an archaeologist at The University of Manchester, the exhibition will take a fresh look at these impressive statues, or ‘moai’. Making Monuments will look at how the statues were made, the role they played in the lives of the islanders, how they were quarried and transported across the island, and what they mean. It will also deconstruct some of the myths about the island, and discuss current theories about the decline of this astonishing culture. As part of the exhibition, Manchester Museum will show one of the statues, Moai Hava, which was collected from Rapa Nui in 1868, and is on loan from the British Museum.

Suitable for

  • Any age


photograph of child looking at wolf in museum display

Easter Holiday Activities: Nature Discovery

  • 6 — 19 April 2015

Explore, discover and make stories at Manchester Museum this Easter. Don’t miss a visit to our newly renovated Nature Discovery gallery for under 5s and their families.

Create sock puppet animals in our Discovery Centre and take them with you as you explore the museum galleries and see what, and how many other animals you can find. Drop in, free, all ages

English Corner

  • 7 April 2015 1-2pm
  • 5 May 2015 1-2:30pm

Drop-in, free, adults

Free English conversation classes using the Museum’s collection as inspiration for discussion.

Early Opening: See, Make & Do at the Museum

  • 11 April 2015 9:15-10:30am

Autism Friendly: for families with children with autism and their siblings aged 5-16 with a parent or carer.

Join us for a series of early openings at the Museum aimed at children who have autism and other needs, along with their families and carers.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Baby Explorers

  • 14 April 2015
  • 28 April 2015
  • 12 May 2015
  • 26 May 2015

10.30-11.15am, 11.30am-12.15pm & 1-1.45pm.
Book on 0161 275 2648 (Bookings will be taken a week in advance from 2pm), free
Sensory play and interactive story sessions for babies who aren't walking yet. Every other Tuesday (except half term school holidays when there are drop-in sensory play sessions 11am-2.30pm).

Rock Drop: Geology Identification Sessions

  • 23 April 2015 2-3pm
  • 21 May 2015 2-3pm

Drop-in, free
Our Curator of Earth Sciences, David Gelsthorpe, will be available once a month to answer your questions and identify your rocks and fossils.

photograph of man and child reading

Magic Carpet

  • 24 April 2015 10:30am-1:45pm
  • 29 May 2015

Fri 24 Apr, 10.30-11.30am & 11.30am-12.30pm
Book on 0161 275 2648 (from a week before from 2pm), free, under 5s and their families/carers
Story making and activity sessions. For toddlers up to 5yrs and their families/carers (Young babies welcome with older siblings).

photograph of young child with flower in bell jar

Big Saturday: Nature & Us

  • 25 April 2015 11am-4pm

Drop in, free, all ages
Discover more about nature around us, and how it affects our everyday lives. Explore and delve into our Nature Discovery gallery on Floor 1. Meet Museum curators and find out more about the Museum’s collections. Join students from The University of Manchester and find out about their research, as they uncover the stories behind objects in the Museum’s animal, fossil and plant collections. Enjoy hands-on activities for all the family and lots more….

Early Opening for Early Birds

  • 25 April 2015 9-10am
  • 23 May 2015

Drop-in, free, families with children under 5 and their older siblings
Are you and your young children up with the Larks and excited to get out and about and exploring? Come along to Manchester Museum's Living Worlds and Nature Discovery galleries for our early opening for early birds. Enjoy self-led tours, object handling and craft activities. (Just the Living Worlds and Nature Discovery galleries will be open at 9am - you can explore the rest of the Museum from 10am).

logo for Manchester After hours

Brighter Sound

  • 14 May 2015 6-9pm

Brighter Sound brings together musicians Jason Singh and Giuliano Modarelli in an event inspired by India’s Warli artists and the animation of the Museum’s collections.

A Fine Line has worked in partnership with Brighter Sound to explore the potential of artists' interdisciplinary collaborations with Traditional Indian arts practise.

Jason Singh – a composer and sound artist and Giuliano Modarelli a virtuosic guitarist, spent an exhilarating three weeks working in the context of Warli painters who are themselves exploring and experimenting beyond the boarders of tradition.

Against a backdrop of Warli canvasses and images, Jason and Giuliano will perform an sonic account of their journey.

Part of Museums at Night. One Night. City Wide. Free Events.

Suitable for


Big Saturday: Statues from Easter Island

  • 23 May 2015 11am-4pm

Come along to Manchester Museum and find out more about the monumental stone statues (or ‘moai’) of Rapa Nui (named Easter Island by European explorers). Discover the role the statues played in the lives of the islanders, how they were quarried and transported across the island, and what they mean. Learn some archaeology skills, meet experts, enjoy hands-on craft activities, and explore our Making Monuments on Rapa Nui exhibition. All this and more…

Suitable for


photograph of moai heads

Building the great monuments of Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

  • 24 May 2015 2-3pm

Based on fieldwork on the island by Professor Colin Richards, an archaeologist at The University of Manchester, this talk will explore the social significance of the range of volcanic materials that are used in the construction of the ceremonial platforms (ahu), including the statues (moai) and topknots (pukao). The recent excavations and discoveries of the Rapa Nui: Landscapes of construction Project will also be presented as will an alternative interpretation of the prehistoric Rapa Nui social world.

Book online at or phone 0161 275 2648, free, adults

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children
Photograph of anakena statues

Half term: Rapu Nui statues

  • 25 — 29 May 2015

Visit the Museum’s Making Monuments on Rapa Nui exhibition, and find out more about the monumental stone statues (or ‘moai’) of Rapa Nui (named Easter Island by European explorers). Discover the role they played in the lives of the islanders, how they were quarried and transported across the island, and what they mean.

Create statues of your own inspired by objects in the exhibition, including Moai Hava, a statue collected from Rapa Nui in 1868, on loan from the British Museum.

Suitable for


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.

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

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.

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