Manchester Museum reopening date confirmed after £15m revamp and new galleries

The refurbishment has seen the museum grow in size and add a new shop, cafe and picnic area as well.

Manchester Museum will reopen its doors to the public in February 2023 after it completes the final phase of its major transformation.

The ambitious £15million hello future renovation project includes a two-storey extension, which will increase the museum’s footprint by 25%, and a reconfiguration of existing spaces.

Visitors can expect a series of new art galleries, inclusive facilities, and improved accessibility.

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    Manchester Museum’s director, Esme Ward, said: "Despite the challenges we have faced during the pandemic, our team and partners never lost faith in our vision for a reimagined Manchester Museum that is more caring, inclusive, and imaginative”.

    Golden Mummies at Manchester Museum: a stunning Exhibition Hall will host the internationally successful display

    What to expect

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    In an effort to make the museum more inclusive, the renovations will add Changing Places toilets, a prayer space, a quiet room, therapy space, and a picnic area – along with a new shop and café.

    Accessibility and circulation are also being improved with a new ramped entrance from Oxford Road, leading to a welcome area that will feature objects like a large Japanese incense burner.

    A Manchester Museum Welcome Area will feature extraordinary objects including a large Japanese incense burner

    Visitors will have the chance to see new galleries, including the South Asia Gallery – the UK’s first-ever permanent exhibition dedicated to the stories, experiences, and contributions of South Asian communities.

    Other new additions will be the internationally-successful Golden Mummies exhibit and the Belonging Gallery, where Zorika Gaeta’s objects and comic art will be displayed.

    The transformation, funded in part by Arts Council England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The University of Manchester, and numerous philanthropists, was named Project of the Year at the 2021 North-West Construction Awards.

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    The South Asia Gallery is the first ever permanent exhibition space in the UK dedicated to exploring the stories, experiences, and contributions of South Asian communities Credit: Chris Bull

    The museum hoped to welcome visitors back by the end of 2022, but plans were delayed by the pandemic.

    “We’re incredibly grateful to our visitors and communities for their patience while we undergo this huge transformation, and we can’t wait to reopen our doors in 2023,” said Ms Ward.

    While anxious enthusiasts will have to wait until 2023 to visit in-person, the museum is holding online and pop-up events, and the collections are available to explore online here.