More than 18,000 artefacts had to be moved or protected during the 18-month-long, £15-million-pound renovation of the Manchester Museum, which opened its doors in 1890. The new extension sits within the museum’s historic courtyard of Grade II and II*-listed buildings designed by Alfred Waterhouse and creates space for exhibitions – including a brand-new dinosaur display and a Chinese culture gallery – plus a new cafe and shop, and a more accessible entrance.
Heritage expert Purcell oversaw the university museum’s expansion and revamp, cladding the new addition in green terracotta tiles that reference Manchester’s Victorian and Edwardian-era buildings. Existing materials were recycled and reused where possible as part of the museum’s broader sustainability strategy.
The 3,000 sq ft South Asia Gallery is a major new addition to the museum and will be the first permanent space of its kind in the UK. Historical and contemporary pieces will be brought together to explore the lived experience of the South Asian diaspora.
The Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery and the Belonging Gallery are also new spaces for the museum, the first dedicated to the country’s cultural links with Manchester and the second exploring ideas of belonging through the lens of different communities.
Despite just opening, the extension has already won the 2021 Manchester Project of the Year at the North West Regional Construction Awards.