Manchester Museum Humanities & Arts Offer

Have you heard…?
We have now embarked on our major expansion project – hello future. From October  2018 only our 1885 building will be open until we complete the redevelopment. This involves extensive building work between 2018 and 2020, and so our Learning Programme in its current format has changed to make way for new ideas, an exciting new offer, and greater capacity from 2021.

Therefore, some of our regular programme of workshops are on hold for the moment, but there’s still lots to see and do at Manchester Museum.

Artist-led workshop
Aimed at Key Stages 3, 4 & 5
1hr: £60, 2hr:£120

We are still able to offer a one or two-hour session with an artist, with activities
developed to take a closer look at our Natural History galleries.
It’s a great opportunity for students to see how they can use quick drawing methods to collect a variety of sketches for their portfolio looking at tone, cross-hatching and line drawing. The two-hour workshop also examines colour and tone.
You will need to 
book this in advance.

Self-Guided Visits
You can still organise a self-led visit to the Museum through our usual booking process; please let us know if there are specific galleries you are interested in visiting, keeping in mind those subject to closure above.


We do have a fantastic Comic Book Project Resource – which provides five one-hour lesson plans with material intended to support literacy and enjoyment of reading by introducing students to storytelling techniques. The resource uses the Museum collection as inspiration for characters in students’ very own comic book. We will be releasing a visit-pack shortly that will support additional activities for pupils in museums and galleries, so you can make the most of a visit to support a comic book project of your own.comic book image

Alongside our existing resources, we are continuing to develop new resources to support self-led visits to ensure that whenever you visit the Museum you and your students have a fantastic experience.

Already booked a visit?
Check out the suggestions below for on-gallery activities…

Historical Figures
Before you bring your pupils to the Museum decide on some important figures in history that they may have recently studied. While on the historical galleries ask them to pick out objects these figures could have owned. If you’re on the Natural History galleries; what animal would they be? Make sure they explain why they’ve chosen these things and how they relate to the person from history to work on their reasoning skills.
This is a great way to reinforce learning about notable people from the past and will allow students to consider the person behind the reputation.

Mythical Creatures…
There are a lot of myths and legends that can be associated with animals on display at the Museum – just think of the Loch Ness monster when stood in our fossils gallery…Ask pupils to design their own animals using the specimens from our Natural History galleries as inspiration. They could take the head of one animal, the legs of another and even mix different elements of birds with bugs. Let their imagination take over. You might encourage them to think about the habitat these mythical creatures could live in, building up a description of how it lives and what it eats. (For inspiration, see these computer game characters Preston College created)
Once they’ve imagined these mythical beasts, ask students to share the stories that surround these creatures through a game of Chinese Whispers and watch the legends grow and change…

Animal Q&A
Ask students to pick an animal from one of the cases on our Natural History galleries and keep it a secret. They then have to ensure a question and answer session with other pupils. The aim of the game is to hide their identity for as long as they can, but they must answer each question honestly and if those asking the questions guess which animal they are, they win!
This is a quick, fun way to immerse students on the gallery and introduce a little competition to the visit!

Talking Objects
Similar to the Q&A activity above, students pick an object and determine, if this object could speak: what would it say? Is it happy in the Museum? Where has it come from? What does it make of the faces that pass by every day?

Midden Arch GalleryFound Word Poems
In small groups, students ‘collect’ phrases from the labels on display in the gallery. These could be individual words or half-sentences; anything they like the sound of. Once they have collected 10-15 phrases students can start to put them together, adding in pronouns or prepositions to link them in a found-word poem.
For more poem-inspired activities and support check out this post written by our Poet-in-Residence from 2016.

Create your own Exhibition!
Before the visit, chose a theme or topic and let the students know that they will be working in teams to create a digital exhibition whilst at the Museum. Suggested themes for our Natural History galleries may include: The Environment, Climate Change, Nature’s odd creatures…
Give students a brief to collect a specific number of specimens for their exhibition (between 8-12 would be good for groups of 4/5 students) for which they have to create a title, write labels, create their own marketing blurb and/or even a Tweet to promote their exhibition.  During the visit, encourage pupils to take photographs of objects and specimens they believe would be suited to the theme given and prepare their exhibition materials. Students could use free apps such as Frame Artist or Canva to create these on site.
This work can then be taken back to school to share with other pupils and provides fantastic evidence of the experience of visiting the Museum.

Quick Activities

  • If pupils could chose an object/specimen to bring back to school, which one would it be and why?
  • What animal from the Natural History gallery would be your school mascot, and why?
  • Find five useful/amazing/weird facts about things in the gallery.
  • What would animals be called if we just ‘said-what-we-see’? (Check out these hilarious examples)
Have you tried any of these ideas? Do you have any other suggestions? Comment below!

When our galleries become less available from October 2018, you may like to consider booking to visit one of our suggested alternative venues across the country.