Skip to content

About us

Find out more about the museum’s rich history and ambitions for the future.

Manchester Museum is on a mission to become the most inclusive, imaginative and caring museum you’ll ever visit. As part of the University of Manchester, research and learning is in our DNA, but now we’re aiming to build stronger emotional connections with visitors too, creating a space where everyone feels they belong.

Wander through our beautiful 130-year-old building and lose yourself in stories of what it means to be human, including the moving, personal narratives of the South Asia Gallery, co-curated with 30 inspiring community members.

Rethink your relationship with the natural world, while enjoying rich natural science collections that underpin vital conservation work. Unusually, our collections even include live amphibians and lizards – Manchester Museum is the only place in the world outside Panama where you’ll see the extraordinarily beautiful and critically endangered harlequin toad.

Find a sense of joy and connection through events that bring communities together to celebrate, share and learn, from Vaisakhi to Lunar New Year and Africa Day.

We are reimagining what it means to be a museum at the heart of its community, while putting community at the heart of what we do. In February 2023, the Museum completed a major, values-led redevelopment that created new gallery spaces and visitor facilities with collaboration and co-creation at their heart. You’ll find a beautiful picnic area, a spacious prayer room for all, a quiet room and Changing Places toilet.

We’re also attempting to confront our past with honesty and transparency. Although Manchester Museum was built from a sense of civic pride, it was also borne of Empire, so we continue to grapple with these colonial roots, opening all our collections to the possibility of return to communities of origin. By foregrounding diaspora voices, Global Majority partnerships and Indigenous perspectives, we hope to connect communities locally and globally to forge a more inclusive, hopeful future.

A university museum

We are proud to be part of the University of Manchester. The University has, for over a decade now, had a commitment to social responsibility as one if its core aims (alongside teaching and learning).  Our commitment to caring for not only collections, but for people and relationships aligns perfectly with this.  Our more pro-active approach to repatriation and our social justice and anti-poverty work is understood and wholeheartedly supported as an integral part of what it means to be a socially responsible museum and university.

We are leading, facilitating and supporting more collections-based and diverse, interdisciplinary research and co-research than ever before.  It is embedded throughout our galleries. For example, the Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery profiles some ground-breaking research collaborations; including Prof Henry Yi Li’s work in Manchester and Hong Kong on smart textiles and Prof Shulan Tang’s research and practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The new Dinosaur Gallery has been created to share “how to think like a palaeontologist”, taking lessons and activities from what you would study if you came to the University. The experience and expertise of staff and students has shaped and is central to the display.

Social responsibility policy

Our mission and values drive everything we do.

We are committed to building understanding between cultures and a more sustainable world.

Mission and values

Share this via

Sign up to our newsletter

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


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.