Buidling a greater understanding between cultures and helping to create a more sustainable world will be among the key aims for Manchester Museum when it reopens on 18 February next year following a £15m revamp.
The redeveloped museum, which also hopes to bring to life the lived experience of diverse communities through its collections and displays, has been redesigned by architectural practice Purcell. There will be new exhibition spaces and a contemporary entrance along with new inclusive facilities.
“We have extended the building, making room for more joy and learning and evolving into the museum Manchester needs,” said Manchester Museum director Esme Ward. “Beautiful new galleries and exhibitions will showcase the best of the museum’s historic collections, as well as addressing the urgencies of the present day and highlighting the complexities of our world.”
The redevelopment is supported by funding from Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the University of Manchester and philanthropic supporters.
New spaces include a South Asia Gallery, which is a partnership with the British Museum. The displays in the gallery have been co-curated with the South Asia Gallery Collective, a group that includes community leaders, educators and artists. The space will explore the connection between South Asia and Britain and the legacy of empire alongside contemporary South Asian culture and creativity.
Other new spaces include the Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery; the Belonging Gallery; a Dinosaur display; and a temporary exhibition space featuring Golden Mummies of Egypt.
The Belonging Gallery has been developed by Alexandra P. Alberda, the museum’s curator of Indigenous perspectives. The displays draw on the museum's collections and diverse cultural perspectives to reflect on what it means to belong.
Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester, first opened in 1890 and is one of the largest university museums in the UK. The original neo-gothic building, designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse, is home to about 4.5 million objects, which range from natural sciences and human cultures.
Other new features include a Changing Places toilet, prayer room, quiet room, picnic area and therapy room.