Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Gallery One & Gallery Two

Image of 'The big three' banners display area in the Banners section of Gallery Two at People's History Museum.
Image of visitor discovering the meanings of signs and symbols in the Banners section of Main Gallery Two at People's History Museum.
Image of visitor in the Citizens section of Main Gallery Two at People's History Museum.
Image of visitor playing the Pank-a-Squith board game in suffragette Hannah Mitchell's kitchen in the Voters section of Gallery One at People's History Museum.
Image of the Time Off? section of Main Gallery Two at People's History Museum.
Image of toddler opening display drawer in the main galleries at People's History Museum.

Colours in the galleries

Many of the historic items in the museum used colour to represent ideas.  Each section of the galleries has a different background colour, chosen for its historic meaning; red for courage and revolution, green for reform, blue for loyalty, purple for dignity, pink for peace and prosperity, white for purity, and gold for ambition.

Image of Pink rosette with a People's History Museum badge. Behind is a landscape banner with gold fringing, embroidery, and lettering reading: 'General Election 1906'.

General election trail

Until 30 September 2024

Follow PHM’s pink rosettes trail and explore all things general election.

Suitable for age 12 to adults.

Find out more
Gallery One: Peterloo to post war


Manchester Heroes print by George Cruikshank, September 1819, on display in the Revolution section of Main Gallery One at People's History Museum.






Uncover the story of the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, a major event in Manchester’s history and a defining moment for Britain’s democracy.  When troops charged at the crowd of peaceful protesters seeking democratic rights, the gathering turned into a massacre with 18 people killed and around 700 injured.  The event led to the reform of parliament in 1832, giving the vote to some.

Family favourite: In the past very few people could vote; spin the Wheel of Fortune to find out more..

What was the Peterloo Massacre?


Thomas Paine’s wooden desk, with a copy of his 1791 book 'Rights of Man' lying open on the top.






Discover the birth of democratic ideas, through the Levellers, the Chartists, and individuals such as John Wilkes, Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Cobbett, and the Cato Street Conspirators.

On display is radical writer and political activist Thomas Paine’s desk, on which he wrote the second part of his most famous book, Rights of Man in 1791.

Family favourite: Find the coffin used for smuggling newspapers critical of the government – open at your peril!

More treasures in PHM's collection


visitors playing the Match Girls' Strike game in the Workers section of Main Gallery One at People's History Museum.






Follow the growth of the trade union movement, including secret societies, the Tolpuddle Martyrs of 1834, and the Match Girls’ Strike of 1888.

Family favourite: Experience the harsh working conditions at the Bryant & May match factory through an arcade style game – how fast can you work?

Discover the 1981 People's March for Jobs


votes for women campaign items in the Voters section of Main Gallery Two at People's History Museum.

Learn about Britain’s main political parties and movements, including early socialism, the Conservative and Liberal Parties, the birth of the Labour Party, the Communist Party of Great Britain, the General Strike, the campaign for votes for women, the Spanish Civil War, and fascism.

Family favourite: Visit local councillor and suffragette Hannah Mitchell’s kitchen to play the Pank-a-Squith board game.

Discover objects from 20 general elections

Collection Spotlight

drawing of Collection Spotlight display case in Main Gallery One at People's History Museum.

This case in Main Gallery One showcases objects from the museum’s collection that are not on permanent display.

The case is changed regularly to share new acquisitions and explore ideas worth fighting for.

Visit the latest display
Gallery Two: post war to the present


visitor exploring the Grunwick strike (1976-1978) through a digital interactive experience in the Citizens section of Main Gallery Two at People's History Museum.

Explore material from the birth of the NHS, delve into the decades long fight for LGBTQI+ equality, and get up close to objects from strikes that changed the face of protest through a specially created app (download ahead of your visit to your Apple or Android device).

Family favourite: Find the badge maker and create your own protest badge!

What was Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners?


The Conservation Studio viewing window, from the Banners section of Main Gallery Two at People's History Museum.

Don’t miss ‘the big three’; some of the museum’s most impressive and significant banners showcased in a purpose built double height space – a key feature of the 2024 Banner Exhibition.

Peek behind the scenes into The Conservation Studio, where our expert team of specialists care for and conserve the museum’s collection, as well as commissions for other museums, communities, and individuals.

Family favourite: Look down the microscope at the creepy crawlies we must keep out of the collection..

Explore climate protest banners

Time off?

visitors enjoying the juke box in the Time Off? section of Main Gallery Two at People's History Museum.






Discover how time off for workers was won, and how they spent their new found leisure time.

Explore working class leisure activities such as football, including items from the collection of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), plus music and the Musicians’ Union, and find out more about the Co-op, the pioneering shop that put people before profit, formed in Greater Manchester by the Rochdale Pioneers.

Family favourites: Play shop in the Co-op and dance to your favourite songs on a vintage juke box!

Protest music of Manchester
Image of Left to right: Mary Fildes on detail from Peterloo commemorative glass, photograph of match girls, 1888, illustration of Sylvia Pankhurst by artist Halah El Kholy, 2019, and photograph of Jayaben Desai.

Guided gallery tours

Ideas worth exploring

Delve deeper into PHM’s collection and stories on a guided tour led by a member of the museum team, exploring key topics featured in the museum’s galleries.

Book your place
We use cookies on our website to provide you with a better experience. See our privacy policy for further information. OK