The transformation project, named hello future, includes the addition of a two-storey extension, several new galleries, a new entrance, shop and café. All visitor facility design choices have, the venue states, been made with accessibility in mind.
When visitors are permitted back on site in late 2022, they will be able to explore a large new Exhibition Hall, as well as the Belonging Gallery, Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery and the South Asia Gallery.
The latter, a partnership gallery with the British Museum, will be the first ever permanent UK exhibition space dedicated to exploring the stories, experiences and contributions of South Asian communities.
“We are excited to have reached the final stage of our transformation and I want to reassure our visitors that although our doors will temporarily close, we are still here for you,” says Esme Ward, director of Manchester Museum, who describes hello future as a “hugely important project that aims to build understanding between cultures and create a more sustainable world”.
Once complete in 2022, she adds, “visitors will experience exhibitions that tell new, powerful stories and engage with big ideas”, all housed in a “bigger, more imaginative and even more inclusive museum”.
Prior to closure on 29th August, the museum’s opening hours will be extended until 9pm on 26th and 27th August to give more people the chance to experience the collections before the final construction work gets underway.
During the hiatus Manchester Museum will be holding pop-up events and delivering outreach programmes to ensure it doesn’t lose touch with the public, and its collections will continue to be freely accessible online.
The £13.5 million hello future project has received support from Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, The University of Manchester and numerous philanthropic donors.