Manchester Museum has announced that it will reopen its doors to the public next year following a £15 million “transformation project”.
The iconic museum – which is part of the University of Manchester – first opened doors in 1890, and boasts a collection of about 4.5 million items from every continent, but for the past two years, it’s been working towards an exciting new development as part of a “ambitious and complex” project which will see the building transformed.
the hello future project – which won Project of the Year at the 2021 North-West Construction Awards – involves a two-storey extension, extensive reconfiguration of existing spaces, and several new galleries.
The transformation is intended to become “more inclusive, imaginative and caring to the diverse communities it serves”.
The new galleries forming part of the transformation will include a stunning Exhibition Hall, which will host the internationally successful ‘Golden Mummies of Egypt’, a new Belonging Gallery, the Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery, and a South Asia Gallery in partnership with the British Museum, which is the first-ever permanent exhibition space in the UK dedicated to exploring the stories, experiences, and contributions of South Asian communities.
If all of that didn’t sound brilliant enough as it is, the museum will also gain a new shop and café, and a range of inclusive facilities – including Changing Places toilets, a prayer space, a quiet room, therapy space, and picnic area.
Accessibility and circulation are also being improved, with a new ramped entrance from Oxford Road leading to an object-filled Welcome Area.
Speaking ahead of the museum’s highly-anticipated reopening, Esme Ward – Director at Manchester Museum – said: “Despite the challenges we have faced during the pandemic, our team and partners have never lost faith in our vision for a reimagined Manchester Museum that is more caring, inclusive and imaginative.
“We’re incredibly grateful to our visitors and communities for their patience while we undergo this huge transformation.”
The hello future project is supported using funding by Arts Council England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The University of Manchester, and the generosity of numerous philanthropic supporters.
Manchester Museum will reopen to the public in February 2023.
Featured Image – Manchester Museum