The Museum of Science and Industry on Liverpool Road, Castlefield, is the best museum that I have been to in Manchester. It is also the biggest, and I managed to get lost inside it for fifteen minutes.
Due to its size, you should definitely set aside a good few hours to explore its many exhibitions. There are five main buildings for you to explore, which does unfortunately mean that you have to brave the Manchester weather when moving between exhibitions.
The first building, the Great Western Warehouse is full of school children during the week and families during the weekend. This contained the newest exhibition, Revolution Manchester, an interactive gallery, and mainly focused on aspects of energy.
Other parts of the warehouse include the Manchester Science Gallery and the Textiles Gallery. This is also where the coffee shop is, which I enjoyed immensely.
If you go out of the main entrance and cross Lower Byrom Street, you see a huge old glass and iron building. This is the Air and Space Hall and is my favourite of the museum’s five buildings. In it was a vast array of vehicles, from some of the cars from the 1920s to army vehicles to aeroplanes. If you are easily amused like I am, a vast array of vehicles will surely win you over. If you like motorbikes, there is also a Harley Davidson exhibit on until 30th October, entry £6.50, which you should catch whilst you still can. I didn’t go, but I’m really cheap.
1830 warehouses connect the Manchester Gallery, which tells the story of the development of communications in the Manchester region, from the telegraph to phones to the internet. A second technology gallery in this warehouse is the Electricity Gallery, which has recreated kitchens and living rooms from the early-mid 20th Century. It is nice to look at how quaint and primitive technology used to be, and it makes you wonder how we managed with such inferior technology, I mean, the internet on my Blackberry’s been down for three days and I’m having withdrawal.
I moved on to the Station Building which is home to the Gas Gallery, the Liverpool-Manchester Railway exhibition, the Making of Manchester Gallery and the Underground Manchester Gallery. I got really lost in this building , and, thanks to the Underground Manchester gallery, I now know more about sewers than I ever cared to.
The Liverpool-Manchester Railway is the oldest passenger railway in the world, and at the weekends you can ride along it on a steam train to Ordsall (prime example of something being more about the journey than the destination).
The Gas Gallery shows the uses of gas as an energy source which is about as interesting as it sounds, and the Making of Manchester gallery is really good if you’re interested in the history of Manchester. It does actually has a history prior to the Industrial Revolution…who knew?!
The final building is the Power Hall which houses “one of the largest collections of working steam mill engines in the world.” This, like the Air and Space Hall, is good for anyone that likes looking at transport, in this case trains. At certain times of the year, they also serve cider and beer here, which further adds to the fun, though the reason for this escapes me.
The Museum of Science and Industry is a great museum due to its vast size. Whilst gas and new developments in science didn’t really interest me, the transport and history exhibitions did. One thing I would say is a) take a map from the front desk and b) be sure that you are actually able to read said map, otherwise you may end up, like me, wandering around the sewage exhibit for too long whilst being chased by the hordes of children that seem to be ever-present.