From interactive tours of Victorian engines to football memorabilia and Egyptian mummies, the museums of Manchester have a lot to offer culture vultures. Take a look at our guide to the best museums in the city and start planning your next escape.
Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art
The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art offers an exciting, rotating program of exhibitions, events and festivals promoting young, up-and-coming Chinese artists. Visit before the 22nd March to see the UK premier of Sun Xun’s animation “˜What Happened to the Year of the Dragon’ and accompanying video works.
Imperial War Museum North
Housed in a striking contemporary steal building designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, Imperial War Museum North explores how war affects and shapes lives, examining the life of soldiers as well as those who remain at home during wartime. Running until 31st May, From Street to Trench: A World War that Shaped a Region looks at the vital contributions made by the people of the North West region during WW1.
From African tribal charms to fossils, Roman swords to Egyptian mummies, Manchester Museum is perhaps the best known of the museums of Manchester. Comprising 15 galleries, visitors can get lost in the tomb-like Egyptian Worlds section, home to 20 mummies and 16,000 ancient Egyptian artefacts.
Hat Works Museum
A must for all aspiring milliners, a visit to the UK’s only dedicated hat museum offers a fascinating insight into Manchester’s former thriving hat industry. Housed in a Grade-II listed Victorian factory in Stockport (about 20 minutes drive from Manchester City Centre), the Hat Works Museum houses over 400 Bowler, Panama, Sailor and Topper hats alongside a variety of antique hat making machines.
Museum of Science and Industry
Located inside the world’s oldest surviving railway station, the Museum of Science and Industry hosts a series of interactive exhibitions exploring the development of science, industry and technology. Curious visitors can attend anything from weaving workshops to Victorian engine demonstrations, while the Steam, Sweat and Sewers tour lets attendees “˜revel’ in the stench and filth of a Victorian sewer. Lovely.
National Football Museum
Exploring every aspect of “˜The People’s Game’, the National Football Museum houses an impressive selection of football memorabilia. The proud keeper of the FIFA and Football League Collection, the museum showcases over 140,000 football-related items, alongside interactive exhibitions. Active football fans can take a penalty against a virtual goalkeeper and mini footie enthusiasts (under 5s) can take part in a variety of storytelling football adventures.
Whitworth Art Gallery
With striking views of Whitworth Park, the reopening of Whitworth Art Gallery (on the 14th Feb) will make quite a mark on the museums of Manchester. Having doubled in size, the new gallery fuses the historic building with contemporary features such as huge glass panels and red brick walls (it cost a whooping £15m to complete). Home to both historic and contemporary art, collection highlights include watercolours by Blake and Turner as well as modern classics by Bacon, Freud and Hockney.
Virgin Atlantic operates direct flights to Manchester from London Heathrow.
Have you visited any of the museums of Manchester? Have we left any of your favourites off our list? Let us know in the comments section below.