Manchester’s museums and gallery adventures from home

With Manchester’s museums and galleries temporarily closed again, many have moved activity online to provide a whole range of amazing cultural digital experiences. Here are some of the best:

National Football Museum

Play has been postponed at the National Football Museum for a few weeks but there’s still plenty of action off the pitch. The current exhibition Strip! How Football Got Shirty is available online, alongside an accompanying weekly podcast. Join the museum’s curators and experts as they delve into the stories behind football shirt design and technology. On 23 November there’s five days of football chat to look forward to as the Football Writing Festival goes digital. There are also plenty of at home activities to inspire you alongside the First 11 series on our YouTube channel.



HOME’s trio of exhibitions may have only had their doors open for less than a fortnight, but that’s no reason to miss out – all three are now available online with a video tour from curator Bren O’Callaghan, image galleries and artist interviews. Explore Joy Yamusangie’s bold and thought-provoking Blue Glass Fortunes, immerse yourself in the unsettling dreamscapes of MSR FCJ’s Bubbling Pitch or join the villagers of a fictionalised version of Eyam as they battle through Our Plague Year as reimagined by Nick Burton.

You can also engross yourself in the strangely beautiful post-apocalyptic Last Place On Earth, created during lockdown by the Future 20 Collective. The Future 20 Collective is a group of artists aged 18-25 who undertook HOME’s 12 month training initiative in 2019-2020. The collective is made up of filmmakers, poets, spoken word artists, photographers, visual artists, musicians, theatre performers & producers and a glass artist.

Working with artist Ivan Morison, Future 20 have created a virtual reality (VR) environment that invites you to imagine the last place on earth. A utopian place, not to feel alone in but where you can consider reconnecting with mother nature and planting seeds for change.

People’s History Museum

Although the doors to People’s History Museum will be closed until 3 Dec, this marks the start of a series of new ways to discover the stories, collections and spirit of the national museum of democracy. You can join their Head of Collections & Engagement, Jenny Mabbott, and actor Alfred Enoch on a Google ‘Art for Two’ tour, or explore our treasures for yourself with a 3D tour of the galleries.

They will also be continuing to bring people together for inspiration, conversation and creativity through their online programme of events, Ideas Worth Exploring.

Science and Industry Museum

Ignite your curiosity with the Science and Industry Museum. Visit their website to discover amazing objects, inspiring stories, and new ways to play and learn together at home.

Explore the museum’s collection online and delve into stories that chart 250 years of world-shaping innovations that began in Manchester. Discover the history of the museum’s site and its globally significant collection of railway buildings. Find out how Manchester’s industrial transformation and advances in engineering and mass production helped shape life as we know it and learn how the city survived and thrived through highs and lows as it transformed from industrial powerhouse to international science city.

Try these learning resources for more fun activities you can enjoy at home. Play online games and apps, watch our videos, or experiment with things you can find around the house. Learn the fundamentals of aerodynamics by making different types of planes out of paper, investigate how sounds travel using a coat hanger and string, and discover the perfect way to make instant ice-cream.

If you’re looking for more science kits, books, games, and toys to keep you entertained, the museum’s online shop is still open. It’s full of unique gift ideas and every purchase you make supports the museum and our vital work.


Castlefield Gallery

Throughout November, Castlefield Gallery has nominated Manchester-based artist collective Shy Bairns to participate in a social media residency with 1983, a Hong Kong based artist led space established in 2019. The residency is part of the Peer to Peer: UK/HK Festival.

The gallery are also launching their Obstructions exhibition online. Earlier this year, Castlefield Gallery invited 15 artists from the North West of England to re-make an existing piece of their work with one condition: they had to accept a bespoke ‘Obstruction’ given to them by another artist in the exhibition. Inspired by a long history of artists using self-imposed restrictions to aid creative or free thinking, it also riffs off the restrictions and disruptions caused by COVID-19.

On Nov 24 they have an artist talk from David Blandy, an artist based in London and Brighton, who works with the image in the digital world. Blandy has established his terrain through a series of investigations into the cultural forces that influence him, ranging from his love of hip hop and soul, to computer games and manga. His works slip between performance and video, reality and construct, using references sampled from the disparate sources that provide his sense of self.

And they will also launch the second edition of the Creative Care Kits for young people. The  kit is full of ideas, stories and activities, which at the very least will help you pass the time and may even inspire you to be the change you’d like to see in the world. You can download a copy here.


IWM North

While IWM North’s doors are temporarily closed, visitors can explore stories from our Refugees season from home. Read more about our exhibition Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire and learn about the challenges faced by those helping refugees on the front lines of conflict zones.

Visitors can also tune into Refugee Nights, a new virtual festival created by the IWM Institute, exploring refugees’ stories throughout history through talks, eyewitness accounts, music and food, celebrating refugees’ rich and important cultural contributions to UK public life. Broadcast from IWM between 7-8pm on 17 November, 24 November and 1 December, hour-long episodes hosted by Hassan Akkad, Syrian refugee and creator of BAFTA-winning documentary ‘Exodus’, will pivot between features and panels that include contributions from an exciting line-up of participantsL actor Jude Law; filmmaker Waad al-Kateab; comedian Omid Djalili; and Syrian chef Imad Alarnab. To watch the festival live, visit the IWM Institute’s hub page.

Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art

While the CFCCA’s doors are closed, you can connect with their digital projects throughout November, including nineteen ways of looking, an ‘Instagram Opera’ created by Jasmin Kent Rodgman and co-commissioned by CFCCA and Chinese Arts Now (CAN).

Responding to the portrayal of, and prejudice displayed towards people of Chinese and East Asian heritage in the West during the COVID-19 pandemic, individual Instagram artworks come together to explore nineteen different perspectives that relate to isolation, media and mental health. Expect moving image, still photography, music, dance and spoken word, as nineteen ways of looking plays out across 10 days this month.

Tuesday 17th – Friday 27th November, follow @nineteenwaysoflooking on Instagram.


Manchester Museum

Over the coming weeks, Manchester Museum will continue to connect and inspire, sharing content from its collection, exploring narratives to spark joy and wonder during these challenging times.

Visit their Online ExhibitionsBeauty and the Beasts: falling in love with insects, Minerals: sustainability and hidden stories, and The British Museum spotlight loan – A Ming Emperor’s seat, and explore the wonderful stories of their collection.

Parents, carers and teachers are also covered with resources for families and adults to entertain and inspire. And creative and fun activities with workshop ideas for carers can be downloaded with the Cultural First Aid Kit.

Listen to the Manchester Museum Podcast series with special guests, and join the museum in an open and honest conversation and reframe how museums care and take action to build understanding, empathy and love for our world and each other.

The website brings the museum to you.