The evolving museum

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With the fantastic news that we have received a confirmed grant of £4,415,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are really excited to be exploring new ways of engaging with our visitors as we work towards our ambition to become the UK’s most imaginative, inclusive and caring museum. This guest post from Peter Fallon, our Visitor Team Manager, reflects on some of the great work that we already do to support our visitors, and how the Visitor Team is well placed to evolve alongside the Museum in the future.

It is often said the species that survive are the ones most adaptable to change.  Luckily for us, change is a natural part of working in a Visitor Team; our work evolves with the development of accessibility, technology, new spaces and old spaces.  So, while we are thinking of all the brilliant ways we are going to work in our new South Asia Gallery, we are also taking some time until then to take a fresh look at our current Natural History displays.

The original Alfred Waterhouse-designed building contains a wealth of natural history specimens, from the first single celled organisms dated around 3.5 Billion years ago to animals that continue to thrive today.

Living worlds.jpg
Living Worlds gallery at Manchester Museum

The space continues to inspire our visitors and staff, and we’re excited to learn more about how the visitor team can continue to bring the collection to life in ways we haven’t before.

We have already embarked on a new way of sharing the stories behind the displays through our Extinction Tour, led by our wonderful Visitor Team members Bryony and Jason.   The tour takes you through each floor of the natural history collections and highlights various objects and live animals which are either extinct or on the verge of extinction.   The tour also shows the work we are doing at Manchester Museum to prevent the extinction of various species of Frog.

Poison dart frog
Green and Black Poison-Dart Frog in the Museum’s Vivarium

However, there is much more to consider; our natural history building has so many objects and no matter how much time you spend in the galleries you will always find something new and exciting that you’ll have never noticed before.  We’re a team made up with lots of different skills, ideas and interests, and we can’t wait to find out what this great combination of people can create in such an inspiring setting.

What connections can we find between species? What stories does the building have to tell?  These questions are hopefully ones we’re going to answer as we explore new ways of working to support our visitors in the future.

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