If you thought Manchester had a lot to offer with its stunning architecture, wait until you see what’s inside some of the city’s famous buildings.
The People’s History Museum was a hydraulic pumping station in Edwardian times, and now it pays tribute to the Manchester working class. Describing itself as a “national museum of democracy”, it focuses on inspiring diversity in the city. Situated on the Left Bank of Spinningfields, the artwork displayed inside their various galleries explores politics old and new, plus anything from local history, to the rights and ideas of Manchester’s minority groups. It’s become such a great space for the community to gather that it’s often used as an events space, even for weddings.
This public contemporary art gallery and agency for creatives is not your conventional exhibitor. In the recent past, the streets of Spinningfields played host to British artist Liz West’s popular travelling installation Through No. 3 – a colourful prism which made visitors look at their surroundings in a different light. Since opening in 1984, and the founding of the agency in 2012, it has worked with artists who have gone on to win Turner Prizes. Drop in to see the next big thing.
Learn about everything, from the Industrial Revolution to other ideas that have changed the world. The Museum of Science and Industry, which is free to enter, displays more than 250,000 objects from the past, present and looking ahead to the future, exhibits on robotics and outer space. Hands-on exhibits include an infinity mirror, tornado creation facility and a mechanism that allows you to watch your own skeleton riding a bicycle.
As the first meeting place of Emmeline Pankhurst’s suffragette movement, the women’s rights activist’s former home stays open as a free family-run space. As well as educating visitors about the historical, social and political events in Manchester, it hosts female-led projects and organisations that continue to support women.
Not only is there a huge collection of over 25,000 artefacts, from fine art to costumes and photographs, the Manchester Art Gallery is a great spot for events. Volunteers lead free tours from 2-3pm on Thursdays to Sundays; you can learn about the history of the building and more about the art that has been collected over 200 years. In addition, their Thursday Lates series, when the museum is open till 9pm, invites guests to gather for free workshops, talks and performance events.
6. The Lowry
Named after Manchester-born artist, LS Lowry, The Lowry is home to works from the likes of British contemporary artist Maggie Hambling and American photographer Spencer Tunick, as well as an exhibition space for visiting curators. The Lowry is also home to three theatres which put on big-name plays and musicals, as well as smaller productions.
For exhibits on all the soccer greats from Pele to Ronaldo, check out the Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum, which happens to be in the city of one of the world’s most famous soccer clubs – Manchester United. With a Hollywood-style Walk of Fame outside, the six-storey museum’s Memories of 66 exhibition celebrates the year England won the World Cup.
The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) is known for giving up-and-coming artists a platform in the Manchester community, working with associate curators in Asia for support. With more than 30 years in the city’s arts scene, the non-profit located in the city’s Northern Quarter prides itself on being the only one of its kind in Europe to focus on Chinese contemporary art. Aside from exhibitions, CFCCA hosts workshops for youths, film nights and book clubs.
You’ll never run out of things to do and see at this museum owned by the University of Manchester, whether you’re obsessed with dinosaurs and mummies, or are into plants and exploring the various cultures of the world. Their programme of events includes learning and social opportunities for adults and fun for families on the weekends.
– TEXT BY LEAH SIMPSON
PHOTOS: PEOPLE’S HISTORY MUSEUM FACEBOOK, CASTLEFIELD GALLERY FACEBOOK, MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY FACEBOOK, THE PANKHURST FACEBOOK, MANCHESTER ART GALLERY FACEBOOK, THE LOWRY FACEBOOK, NATIONAL FOOTBALL MUSEUM FACEBOOK, CENTRE FOR CHINESE CONTEMPORARY ART FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM (MANCHESTER MUSEUM)
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.