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The Museum offers the following services:

  • Assistance with research
  • Research, drawing or handling of objects (Collections Study Centre)
  • Image requests
  • Collection loans
  • Identification

Found something interesting?

We encourage you to carry out your own research on our collections, history, and activities, whether this is part of your education or career, or your own interest.

You can use our resources to identify rocks, coins, bones and other types of objects. If you want to compare things you’ve found with our collections, you can book an appointment at the Collections Study Centre. If you still can’t work out what your object is, you can leave it with the Collections Studio and a member of staff will see if they can identify it within a fortnight.

Heather Beeton records archaeological and numismatic discoveries for the Portable Antiquities Scheme

Research Facilities

We encourage people to carry out their own research on our collection, history and activities, whether they are doing this as part of their education, their job or for their own interest.
Depending on the nature of the request and the collections involved, you might work directly with a Curator or Curatorial Assistant, or in the Collections Study Centre.

Please contact the relevant Curator or the Collections Studio to make an appointment.

If you wish to carry out analysis or sampling of the collections, please download and complete the Material Sampling form (38Kb). For requests to sample from the Museum's holdings of human remains please use the Human Remains Sampling form (38Kb). Please return the completed form to the relevant Curator. Decisions will be based on input from the relevant Curator and a Conservator, and approved by the Head of Collections. Researchers should allow two weeks for a decision to be given for an application. The Museum also lends material to other institutions for people to study and you should contact the relevant Curator to discuss this.

Image request service

Images of our collection are available for purchase, either for private use or for publication. We can supply images for many of the objects and specimens in our collection or can arrange for new photography if necessary.

We will always do our best to meet your deadlines, but it is helpful to be given as much notice as possible, especially where new photography is needed. As a rough guide, please allow at least six weeks for us to organise photography and supply the image to you.

To request an image please complete our request form (below) and return it to us by email. We will then contact you with a quotation for any costs involved. For more information on our image reproduction service please download our guidelines below.

For all commercial image reproduction enquiries please email imagereproductions@manchester.ac.uk

Collection loans

Borrowing from Manchester Museum

Our values and the benefits of loans:

Manchester Museum fully supports the aims of the Museums Association’s Smarter Loans Initiative

We have an obligation to share our collections, and believe that lending and borrowing is part of our core activity.

Loans benefit both lenders and borrowers. They enable our collections to reach new audiences, inspire learning and enhance enjoyment. Manchester Museum is committed to making its collection widely available to museums and galleries around the world, supporting important exhibitions and bringing works from our collection to new audiences.

Our collections are a valuable public resource, reflecting the generosity of past and current donors and public investment in their continued care and development.  Borrowing and lending are the lifeblood of our exhibition and outreach programmes, offering new perspectives on our world and its cultures, and the sharing of our collections contributes to their interpretation and increases the benefit they can provide for the public.

Manchester Museum captures and uses new collections research, knowledge and interpretation generated through loans and associated materials to continually reflect on, evaluate and interpret its collections for future generations.

How we support loan requests:

We have a pragmatic and flexible approach to lending – ensuring that our collections are made available to as wide a variety of audiences as possible, whilst maintaining appropriate standards of collection care and safeguarding our collections for future generations of users.

We have a commitment to supporting local organisations and, wherever possible, will respond swiftly and flexibly to requests.

Whilst we prioritise requests from museums and galleries, we will also consider requests from a wider range of institutions that provide public access and can meet the required standards of collection care, security and ethical practice.

We believe that the best way forward is for clear lines of communication, transparency from the start of the loans process and sharing of information. 

Manchester Museum uses the United Kingdom Registrars' Group Facilities Report to assess the practicalities involved in making loans. This is intended to help both borrowers and lenders work together to define appropriate and acceptable standards based on the needs of the object, highlight potential problems and help us reach agreement on how these can be resolved.

Manchester Museum is committed to sustainable practices and will engage with borrowers to ensure transport, packaging, couriers and other areas of the loan process support these aims.

For further information about borrowing from Manchester Museum please contact:
Gillian Smithson
Manchester Museum
The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
M13 9PL
Telephone: 0161 275 8457
Email: gillian.smithson@manchester.ac.uk