Manchester Museum is part of the University of Manchester, and holds some 4.5 million specimens – making it the UK’s largest University museum. The origins of Manchester Museum lie with a small group of wealthy men who in 1821 set up the Manchester Natural History Society. The Society’s collections formed the basis of the modern museum, which now counts over half a million visitors annually. Key strengths are in Anthropology, Archaeology, Botany, Egyptology, Entomology, Geology and Zoology. The Museum is currently planning a major British Museum Partnership Gallery on South Asia, a China Gallery and an expanded special exhibition gallery, all due to open in 2020.
Manchester has been involved in the ITP programme since 2008, only two years after the programme started. With significant Egyptology collections, the museum has particularly attracted fellows from Egypt and Sudan, and those interested in Anthropology holdings more broadly. Fellows have said that the Manchester Museum’s collections of both natural specimens and human cultures is a particularly stimulating combination. In partnership with Manchester Art Gallery and The Whitworth, fellows have been impressed by the synergy of nature and the ‘made’ world, both past and present. The ITP programme offers Manchester a wonderful opportunity to explore its mission statement of ‘promoting understanding between cultures’ on a personal level – especially over cake!
Colleagues from Manchester Museum reconnected with fellows at the ITP conference Towards a global network in Cairo, Egypt in 2010 and at the ITP+ Course on Interpretation at the Nubian Museum in Aswan, Egypt 2018. Fellows from Egypt, India, Sudan, Uganda attended as well as UK Partner representatives.