Permanent collection

Manchester Museum is home to an array of treasures from the natural world and the many cultures it is home to. Highlights include a T.rex and fossils of other pre-historic creatures, ancient Egyptian artefacts and live amphibians and reptiles.



All exhibitions at Manchester Museum are FREE.


Romuald Hazoumè: Dance of the Butterflies
14 February 2015-December 2015
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 have taken 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 has returned 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 opened to coincide with the reopening of the Whitworth, following a £15million redevelopment.


Making Monuments on Rapa Nui
The Statues from Easter Island
1 April-6 September 2015
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 takes a fresh look at these impressive statues, or ‘moai’.  Making Monuments considers 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 also deconstructs some of the myths about the island, and discusses current theories about the decline of this astonishing culture. As part of the exhibition, Manchester Museum is showing one of the statues, Moai Hava, which was collected from Rapa Nui in 1868, and is on loan from the British Museum.


Family events and activities:

Easter Holiday Activities: Nature Discovery
Mon 6-Sun 19 Apr, 11am-4pm
Drop in, free, all ages
Explore, discover and make stories at Manchester Museum this Easter.  Don’t miss a visit to the newly renovated Nature Discovery gallery for under 5s and their families. Create sock puppet animals in the Discovery Centre and take them with you as you explore the museum galleries and see what, and how many other animals you can find.


Baby Explorers
Tues 14 Apr, 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).


Magic Carpet
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 theirfamilies/carers
Story making and activity sessions. For toddlers up to 5yrs and their families/carers (Young babies welcome with older siblings).


Early Opening for Early Birds
Sat 25 Apr, 9-10am
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? Head over to Manchester Museum’s Living Worlds and Nature Discovery galleries for the 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).


Big Saturday: Nature & Us
Sat 25 Apr, 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….


Baby Explorers
Tues 28 Apr, 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).


Discovery Centre
Sats & Suns, 11am-4pm
Drop-in, free, all ages
Drop into the Discovery Centre for drawing and other art activities inspired by the Museum’s collection and pick up one of our free Museum activity sheets.


Drop-in, free, all ages
Throughout the week visit one of Manchester Museum’s handling tables and get hands-on with objects from the collection, such as an Alexander the Great coin, an urban fox and an ancient Egyptian scarab beetle.


Talks, tours and workshops for adults:


Collection Bites: Women and Weaving in the South Pacific Islands
Wed 1 Apr, 1-2pm
Book online at or phone 0161 275 2648, free, adults
Led by Alice Searle, aid worker and teacher, this hands on session will look at fans, baskets and mats from the islands of Fiji, Rotuma, Tonga and Tuvalu; islands of the South Pacific. There will be an opportunity for participants to handle objects and discuss the materials, processes and the cultural significance behind each piece.


English Corner
Tues 7 Apr, 1-2.30pm
Drop-in, free, adults
Free English conversation classes using the Museum’s collection as inspiration for discussion.


Rock Drop: Geology Identification Sessions
Thurs 23 Apr, 2-3pm
Drop-in, free
Curator of Earth Sciences, David Gelsthorpe, will be available once a month to answer your questions and identify your rocks and fossils.


Taster tours
Every Wed & Thurs, 1pm
Drop-in (no need to book), free, meet at the Information Desk (Floor G)
Come and join one of the Museum’s Visitor Services Assistants for a tour and learn more about some of the fascinating objects on display. Tours are drop-in and focus on different aspects of the Museum and its collections each time.


Vivarium tours
Every Thurs, 12pm
Book on 0161 275 2648, free
Take a tour of one of the most popular and distinctive galleries at Manchester Museum. Explore the comprehensive collection of live reptiles and understand how the Museum is taking a leading role in the conservation of some of the world’s most endangered amphibians.


Manchester Museum,

The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL.

Open daily: 10am-5pm
24-26 Dec, 1 Jan: closed
0161 275 2648


Free Entry