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.

Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed
8 October 2015-16 April 2016
A groundbreaking exhibition of over 60 animal mummies showing how modern science can help explain this ancient practice. Mummies of jackals, crocodiles, cats and birds are displayed alongside artefacts, art and never-seen-before archives documenting their history through the stories of the people who have investigated what lies within the wrappings.

The Study
In September Manchester Museum opened The Study. A reworking of the entire top floor of its historic Grade II*-listed building, it has been reimagined as a space designed to spark wonder, curiosity and a passion for research in all of its visitors.
Inside The Study, visitors will find a gallery, which opens with photography by West African artist, Nyaba Ouedraogo; a research space, filled with tools, resources and curious objects taken from the museum’s collection; an expanded collections study centre, for in-depth research; new work from Manchester Craft Mafia and an aquaponics installation by the Biospheric Studio, where a large-scale fish tank generates the nutrients needed to grow plants – a live research project supported by courses and information for those who want to find out more.

Family events and activities

Autism Friendly Early Opening
Sat 12 Mar, 9.15-10.30am
Drop-in, free. Autism Friendly: suitable for children and young people aged 5-16 with a parent or carer and siblings welcome

See, Make and Do at the Museum
Early openings at the Museum aimed at children who have autism and other needs, along with their families and carers, and siblings.
Activities take place before the Museum opens to the general public and there will be a quiet room available too. See objects, do activities & make creations inspired by one of the Museum’s galleries. A different gallery will be open at each early opening. In March our Nature’s Library and Vivarium (Live Animals Gallery) will be open earlier. Come along to enjoy and explore together. Second Saturday of every month.

Early Opening for Early Birds
Sat 19 March, 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? Come along to the early opening for early birds. Enjoy self-led tours, object handling and craft activities. This month the Nature’s Library and Vivarium (Live Animals gallery) will be open from 9am – you can explore the rest of the Museum from 10am.

Big Saturday – The Body Experience
Sat 19 March, 11am-4pm
Part of British Science Week.
Drop in, free, all ages
“(I learnt about) …Brain – all the different parts – the front part is personality. I want to be a doctor now!” Emma, age 5 and a half.
“What a great day for the family. We all learned a lot. I can’t believe how big a human kidney is!!!” Jonathan, age 41 (Body Experience 2014)
Explore for yourselves the wonder of the human body at the ‘Body Experience’ Big Saturday. For the sixth year running, researchers from across Life Sciences and Medical and Human Sciences at The University of Manchester will take over the Museum from top to bottom, allowing you to explore the human body from head to toe! See how the heart works and how your lungs help you breathe. Travel through your gut and see the bugs that can infect it. Collect your passport in the reception area and start your very own ‘Body Experience’.

Magic Carpet –The Porridge Pot
1 Fri 25 March, 10.30-11.30 and 11.30-12.30
For active toddlers, parents, grandparents and carers. (Younger siblings welcome too)
Book one week in advance on or 0161 275 2648 after 2pm.
Magic Carpet is an interactive, creative, story making and activity session that forms connections to the Museum’s collections.  Our stories are specially devised to enable our youngest visitors to explore our collections.  They include songs, active rhymes and movement and opportunities to discover and handle real museum objects.  They are also supported by a range of tactile resources to promote sensory play and exploration.  Come along, make new friends, play and explore.
Please note that Magic Carpet sessions are approximately 45 minutes long with tidy up time between each session.
Sessions take place in galleries or the Discovery centre rooms.

Events for Adults

Collection Bites
Tues 1 March, 2-3pm
Book, or ring 0161 275 2648
Collection Bites is a free program of monthly talks, joined by a series of guest speakers for conversations discussing key objects from the collection.

Wonder Women: Lightning talk in The Study
Friday 4 or Friday 11 March, 12noon-2pm
Drop-in, free, adults
Join us for a lunchtime slot of lightning talks by incredible women from University of Manchester to celebrate International Women’s’ Day and Wonder Women.

Wonder Women: Gifts for the Gods: Secrets of Animal Mummification in Ancient Egypt
Saturday 5 March, 1.30-3.30pm
Book, or ring 0161 275 2648 free, adults
Manchester is home to some incredible scientists, both now and in the past.  Take part in a hands-on practical science workshop based around Manchester Museum’s current exhibition, Gifts for the Gods; Animal Mummies Revealed. Gifts for the Gods is based on cutting edge bioarchaeological research conducted by Dr.Stephanie Atherton-Woolham and Dr Lidija McKnight from The Ancient Egyptian Animal Bio Bank Project based at the University of Manchester. Their work uses modern scientific techniques to catalogue data from animal mummies in museum collection around the world.
During the hands on workshop participants will take on the role of the researcher and use analytical methods such as CT scans and light microscopy to reveal the secrets of animal mummification and find out what lies beneath the bandages of three of the animal mummies on display.

Rock Drop: Geology Identification Sessions
Thursday 17 March 2-3pm
Drop-in, free, adults
Curator of Earth Sciences, David Gelsthorpe, will be available once a month to answer your questions and identify your rocks and fossils

Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Surgery
Friday 25 March, 10am-4pm
Drop-in, free, adults
Finds surgery for recording and identification of objects found by members of the public from prehistory to 1700s, including metalwork, flint and pottery.

The Urban Naturalist
Sunday 27 March, 2-4pm
Book, or ring 0161 275 2648  free, adults
Friendly, practical workshops run by leading naturalists. From wild food-foraging and composting to bird song and insect identification, explore biodiversity on our doorstep.

Common Objects: Sonorous Matter
Thursday 31 March, 7-10pm
Book, or ring 0161 275 2648 free, adults
When Oskar Fischinger met John Cage he talked about a spirit that lives inside each of the world’s objects, and said that what we need to do to liberate that spirit is to brush past the object and draw forth its sound. The musicians from Common Objects will each research and engage with collections from three museums: Manchester Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum and Durham University Oriental Museum. They will identify objects that once made sound to form the basis of new scores to be performed by the ensemble. Ranging from the Neolithic to the present day, the objects will form a creative resource for re-imagining sonic possibilities.
This project takes contemporary music out of the concert hall and presents it in an innovative setting to reach new audiences that would not necessarily have encountered this form of music.
John Butcher – saxophones
Angharad Davies -violin
Rhodri Davies – electric harp
Lina Lapelyte – violin
Lee Patterson – amplified devices and processes
Pat Thomas – electronics
Funded by ACE and presented with Sound and Music, the National Charity for New Music

Siberian Stories
Thurs 31 March,  6-7pm
Book, or ring 0161 275 2648  free, adults
An evening presentation by Manchester Museum’s Researcher in Residence.  Inspired by the Museum’s 2014-2015 Siberia exhibition, her work has focused on creating and uncovering stories from the Russian Far East.  She will read poems and discuss her research on Kate Marsden – a Victorian nurse and explorer, who made a remarkable and controversial trip to Vilyusk in 1897 – and on the fabulous world of the Russian wonder tale.

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