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Collections

Our collections have the power to inspire a deep appreciation of our interconnected relationship with the rest of our natural world and our exhibitions, events, research and learning programmes explore the bringing together of nature and culture. 

Galleries and exhibitions

  • The story of our ever-changing world is woven throughout the galleries. From a 300-million-year-old fossil tree to a fragmented rock showing the moment the asteroid hit Earth, and Ice Age animals found at Creswell Crags, our collections hold the key to understanding evolution, climate change and even outer space.
  • Visit the Belonging Gallery to learn how humans, animals, and plants have lived harmoniously with each other and in different landscapes. And where they no longer do, the Belonging Gallery offers illustrative examples and hopeful insights into how we might make new harmonies in the future.
  • The South Asia Gallery shares stories of our environment through the lens of care and coexistence, exploitation and extraction, and acts of resistance against environmental degradation.
  • The Chinese Culture Gallery explores China’s biodiversity and highlights the exchange of ideas and knowledge of how to care for our lived environments such as the ‘Sponge Cities’ initiative from Wuhan, which is currently being trialled in West Gorton, Manchester.
  • In 2024 the Exhibition Hall will host ‘Wild’, highlighting rewilding and conservation projects from the UK and around the world to explore how people are using wildness to shape the landscapes around us, and ask how we want to shape our ‘wild’ future.

Research and Learning

  • We deliver formal and informal learning activities in schools and at the museum which build understanding around local and global issues of climate change, for example Carbon Ruins.
  • Our collections and archive are used for taxonomic research, art/design projects, teaching and public programmes both within and beyond the University of Manchester.
  • Untold stories and critical understandings of our encyclopaedic collections are emerging through the Indigenising Manchester Museum programme.
  • The Museum is active in conservation through our Vivarium team’s work on national and international captive breeding programmes for endangered species.
  • As part of the University of Manchester we have access to a wealth of outstanding research and proactively build new collaborations across the university – with the Sustainable Futures Platform, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, the Firs Environmental Research Station and Manchester Urban Observatory.

Research collaborations

We're one of the UK’s largest university museums and we’re a critical part of the city's research infrastructure.

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You can help us care for our collections and bring joy and inspiration to people in Manchester and beyond.

As one of the UK’s largest university museums, we care for over 4.5 million objects, with an internationally-important collection spanning from Archaeology to Zoology, and nearly everything in between. We work with communities, support university students and schools in Manchester and beyond and we are a free, inclusive museum for all. But we need your help. Every object we care for, exhibition, school visit and community event comes at a cost, and you can help make the museum as ambitious and impactful as possible.

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