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Work experience

Find out what it’s like to work in a museum

Apply for work experience

Manchester Museum offers work experience placements for two set weeks in July, supporting Year 10 and Year 12 students. Please note that the deadline for July 2024 placements has now passed. We will be updating this page and reopening applications for July 2025 work experience placement in September.


What you’ll do

During your placement you will work closely with members of the Visitor Team to better understand how we bring the collections to life and help our visitors to have a fantastic experience of the museum. You’ll also have the chance to find out more about the range of roles involved in museum work.

TOP TIP: check out our Careers Cards to find out more about the different roles in the museum!

You will be asked to select for a specific gallery-related theme when you apply. Throughout the week you will be able to spend some time carrying out research related to your chosen gallery theme and work with your peers, with support from our curators, to contribute to a public Highlights Tour, led by our Visitor Team, and delivered to members of the public on the Friday of your placement.

To support you in this task, you’ll receive some mentoring from a Visitor Team assistant, who will share their expertise on how to deliver engaging content to visitors. You will also have a chance to meet the relevant curator for your chosen theme, and have plenty of time to carry out independent research to prepare content with your partner.

In addition to your task, you will spend time shadowing members of the Visitor Team to gain experience of working on the galleries and welcoming visitors, amongst other things. You will also meet members of the Learning & Engagement, Visitor Team, Curatorial, Conservation, Commercial and Marketing teams, attend daily briefing meetings, and we hope to be able to arrange the opportunity to observe an educational workshop or find out more about our volunteer-led object handling tables (to be confirmed): download an example timetable for the placement week.

What we’ll be looking for

Essential skills / experience / interests:

  • Experience of or an interest in museums, particularly in relation to your chosen gallery-related theme
  • Experience of or willingness to develop public speaking skills
  • Experience of or willingness to undertake independent research and gain research skills

Application and selection process

We will ask you to complete a short application so that we can make sure that the skills and experience we can offer are a match to your interests and expectations.

TOP TIP: check out our Top Tips from the team where you will find advice on applications and interviews.

We are likely to receive more applications than we can support so will be prioritising applications from the following groups, in line with our work to encourage a broad and varied cohort of students, and based on the priority groups identified by the University of Manchester as underrepresented in higher education:

  • Students from lower income households
  • Care-experienced
  • Estranged
  • Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boaters
  • Asylum Seekers and Refugees
  • Carers

We will ask you about this in the application form: if you are a member of any of these priority groups you’ll be asked to include the contact details for someone in your school who can provide us with a referral to support your application.

Depending on the number of applications that we receive, we may invite you to attend a short interview at the museum so we can find out more about you and your interests. We understand that you will be keen to sort out your placement arrangements as soon as possible, so any interviews will be scheduled within a month of the application deadline.

Dates and deadlines for July 2025 placements will be updated in September.


At a glance

Year 10 work experience at a glance

  • Dates: July 2025 TBC
  • Applications open: September 2024 TBC
  • Application closing date: December 2024 TBC
  • Number of placements available: 6
  • Available placement themes: Egyptology / Archaeology, Dinosaurs / Fossils, Natural History / Vivarium
  • Interviews (if needed): January 2025 TBC
  • Final decision: February 2025 TBC

Year 12 work experience at a glance

  • Dates: July 2025 TBC
  • Applications open: September 2024 TBC
  • Application closing date: January 2025 TBC
  • Number of placements available: 8
  • Available placement themes: Egyptology / Archaeology, Dinosaurs / Fossils, Natural History
  • Vivarium, South Asia / Chinese Culture / Belonging Galleries
  • Drop-in days for application surgery, tour and Q&A: TBC
  • Interviews (if needed): February 2025 TBC
  • Final decision: March 2025 TBC


Can you support a placement for a different week?
Unfortunately not. We have chosen to offer specific placement weeks for Y10 and Y12 students to ensure that our work experience offer is really well supported by our staff. Our aim is to provide students with a really great experience, the opportunity to develop a range of skills, and to bring together a group of students to complete their placements together. We are only able to offer this by focusing on set weeks for work experience placements.

Why do I need to select a theme for my placement?
We are keen to match students to the themes that feature in our galleries so that we can support subject-related knowledge and skills as well as more general transferrable skills through our placements.

I am interested in a subject that isn’t on your list, can I still apply?
If your interests don’t match the themes we have on offer, you may find a more suitable placement elsewhere. However, the placements are as much about the skills you’ll gain as they are about the subject you select, so we’d recommend that you read through the example timetable to check whether the skills and experience you’ll gain would be useful or interesting!

How will you know if I am a priority applicant?
When you apply, you will be asked to provide the name and contact details for a teacher or member of staff from your school, who will be asked to provide us with a referral to support your application.

I am not a priority applicant. Does that mean I won’t get a place?
We don’t know how many students will apply but we have a limited number of spaces for each year group and a set number of places for each gallery theme. If there are more applicants for a theme than there are spaces, we will prioritise applicants from the groups mentioned above but all applicants will be judged on their ability to show how the placement will be of benefit to them.