Skip to content

Primary schools

Here you’ll find resources and information to help you plan your visit.

Resources, activities and visits

Primary Learning at Manchester Museum

Our Primary Learning Programme aims to support children to engage with objects, animals and artefacts on their own terms: to investigate, ask questions, use evidence, and be excited!

We do this through four steps of enquiry that build museum literacy skills: LOOK closely at these amazing things. CONNECT with your knowledge and experiences. EXPLAIN what you think. WONDER at what else you could learn…

You’ll find these four steps throughout everything we do, and something we hope will suit every school:

  • Want a day at the museum with some facilitated time and a little freedom to explore? Try our Workshops.
  • For a structured project embedded into your topic without the cost? Try a Big Question package.
  • If you’re looking for complete freedom to plan your own visit, you can come self-led and dip into our supporting resources.
  • If you’re not sure what to go for, or would like to combine our offers to suit your class perfectly, drop us a message on school.bookings@manchester.ac.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

Workshops

Cost: £150 per class*

Now available for booking: 90 minute interactive workshops for Key Stage 2!

Through interactive challenges, including object handling and gallery activities, museum staff will guide your pupils through the process of asking and answering questions about their topic.

Pupils will develop key enquiry skills and take away a deeper understanding of how items in museums are collected, used, and displayed.

These workshops are designed to fit into any stage of your topic and sit as part of a full day visit to the museum.

Find out more and book an Ancient Egypt Workshop

Find out more and book a Natural History Workshop: Curious Classification

*If cost is a barrier for your school please note that we have created free resources to help you to lead many of these activities yourself with your class on a free self-led visit through our ‘Big Question’ resources (see below).

Free self-led visits

Cost: Free

To ensure that school groups are able to make the most of their museum visit, we require all school groups to book in advance.

Free self-led visits include:

  • Access to galleries
  • Free tickets to visit Golden Mummies of Egypt (until 14 April)
  • Coat storage
  • A reserved 30 minute lunch slot in our picnic area (full day visits only)
  • Hazard ID & Risk Assessment documents
  • Access to our free resources for schools* including ‘Big Question’ activity packs (see below)

Full day self-led visits:

Bring your class for a full day visit to the museum! We have 3 different timetables available every day, including a scheduled 30 minute lunch slot in our picnic area. You can now book your class for a self-led full day visit through to the end of July. Book your full day self led visit.

Small group visits (maximum 12 pupils):

We encourage smaller groups (maximum 12 pupils) to book in with us so that we can provide you with a timetable that will meet your needs. Booking enquiries for groups of 12 pupils or less can be made using our small groups booking enquiry form.

Afternoon visits:

If you wish to bring your group for an afternoon visit after lunch (arrival from 1.30pm) please complete our booking enquiry form.

*Free resources: As well as our Big Questions (more information below), we have a range of free introductory resources available to help you and your pupils to prepare for your trip to the museum. These include a Welcome Film and PowerPoint presentation to help familiarise students with the museum and what to expect, and a Gallery Guide and Map to help you to plan your visit in advance.

Book a full day self-led visit

The Big Question

Cost: Free

The Big Question is the ultimate way to build your pupils’ relationship with Manchester Museum and enhance your topic using museum collections.

Your Big Question package is a three-part learning journey that can embed within your topic plans, help you make best use of a museum visit, empower pupils, and bring history and science to life.

Step 1: Sign up to a Big Question package and book your visit to the museum to receive everything you need to plan and introduce the project to pupils.
Step 2: Visit the museum, with dedicated resources helping to focus your time with us.
Step 3: Engage in post-museum digital activities (such as Livestreamed museum events) to share ideas and receive feedback from museum professionals.

We are delighted to offer Big Questions in topics such as:

  • Dinosaurs (KS1 and KS2)
  • Ancient Egypt (KS2)
  • Natural Science (to link to Biology topics such as classification or adaptation) (KS2)
  • Museum careers (SEND / KS2)

Find out more about The Big Question

Carbon Ruins Manchester

Cost: Free

Manchester Museum is delighted to offer our Carbon Ruins Manchester programme for KS2 pupils for 2023-24. Carbon Ruins offers a creative and hopeful way to approach the pressing issue of climate change.

The year is 2050 and you are the curator of an exhibition, Carbon Ruins. The exhibition celebrates our achievement of net zero emissions and contains objects from the Fossil Era back in the 2020s; telling the story of how they fell out of use or were replaced by something else. Your task is to select an object from the Fossil Era that represents the change that has happened to reach net zero, and to create a label that tells the story of that change.

Carbon Ruins Resources

Please visit our dedicated Carbon Ruins Manchester site to find out more about the programme and access our free resources.

Carbon Ruins Workshops

We are offering a limited number of free Carbon Ruins workshops for KS2 (Years 4-6) groups based in settings located within the M60: find out more and book now.

Carbon Ruins Manchester

Monday Takeovers

Cost: £250 per class  

On selected Mondays our museum is dedicated entirely to schools! Bring your class for a whole day at the museum, linked to our current Special Exhibition.

Golden Mummies of Egypt Takeover Mondays are now sold out but please sign up to our Primary E-Newsletter to be the first to find out about future Monday Takeovers.

Outreach

While we focus on our museum-based programme, we will be pausing our outreach offer for now but don’t worry – it will be back!

Sign up to our Primary E-Newsletter to keep up to date, and find out first about our outreach offer.

Things to know before you visit

Getting here   

There is a drop-off point for coaches outside the museum on Oxford Road. Minibuses can park at Cecil street car park. The museum is also on a major bus route and a short walk from rail and tram stops. Plan your visit here.

There is limited disabled parking available for school group transport. Please contact school.bookings@manchester.ac.uk to discuss this or include this information in your booking or enquiry.

Space for everyone   

  • All of our programming has been made with SEND in mind.
  • We are working on video tours and additional information to support students with SEND and help them prepare for a visit to the museum.
  • Our lifts offer step-free access to all museum spaces.
  • Please let us know of any access requirements when you book your visit.
  • More information on accessibility can be found here.

Risk assessments and group visits  

  • Our Museum Hazard ID document and General Site Risk Assessment are available to support you to produce your own risk assessment for your visit. For our Primary Workshops, please also refer to our Workshop Risk Assessment. You are welcome to arrange booking a site visit ahead of your school visit to carry out your risk assessment and we are happy to arrange for you to meet a member of the team, please email school.bookings@manchester.ac.uk to arrange this.
  • Teachers (or other accompanying adults) remain responsible for the general health and safety of children during their visit. Teachers (or other adults) should remain with their primary and secondary school groups at all times.
  • The minimum adult to pupil ratios that we recommend for schools visits is: 1:6 for Early Years & KS1; 1:8 for KS2, 1:15 for KS3, KS4 & Post-16. Note this excludes adults providing 1:1 support.

Facilities  

  • View the museum map here.
  • There is a picnic area on the ground floor next to the Main Hall. Space will be allocated for school groups through the booking process.
  • The Museum Shop is full of souvenirs inspired by our collections and prices start from 50p.
  • There is a water fountain in the Welcome Area.
  • We are able to arrange for storage of coats, bags and lunches for school groups through the booking process.
  • We have lots of toilets throughout the museum including a fully accessible Changing Places toilet and all-gender toilets.

Find more information to help with your visit.

Get directions

Share this via

Sign up to our newsletter

Be the first to find out about events, exhibitions and museum news

Donate

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.

DONATE TODAY