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PHM closed throughout January 2024

People’s History Museum will close on Sunday 31 December 2023 and re-open on Thursday 1 February 2024 so that it can carry out further work as part of the Welcome Project at PHM, which stems from the museum’s vision to be an exemplar for accessibility.

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People's History Museum (PHM) is committed to supporting all visitors during their time at the museum. We understand that everyone has different access needs.

PHM closed throughout January 2024

People’s History Museum will close on Sunday 31 December 2023 and re-open on Thursday 1 February 2024 so that it can carry out further work as part of the Welcome Project at PHM, which stems from the museum’s vision to be an exemplar for accessibility.

Minor building works will be taking place during December 2023; we will take every measure to limit noise and disruption during this time.

Find out more

Please talk to us if you have queries or require any assistance in advance of your visit by phoning 0161 838 9190, or by emailing  Emails will be answered Monday to Friday, 10.00am to 5.00pm.

On the day of your visit, our Visitor Experience Team will be available to help.  You can also give us a call on the day of your planned visit if you require assistance.

Image of People's History Museum building exterior, from Left Bank.

Travelling to the museum

  • The museum is located on the corner of Left Bank and Bridge Street, opposite the Civil Justice Centre, alongside the River Irwell, in the Spinningfields area of Manchester city centre.
  • The museum has no onsite car parking.
  • The nearest car park is Bridge Street, M3 5AH.  Manchester City Council states that Blue Badge holders can park in any bay and do not need to make payment.
  • Drop off is available on Bridge Street on the other side of the road to the museum.  Please do not drop off on Bridge Street on the same side as the museum as a bus gate is in operation.
  • Drop off is also available in the layby on Left Bank, the road opposite the museum’s main entrance.  Vehicles can use this layby for a maximum of 15 minutes.  Please note, Left Bank is a private road with fines for anyone who drops off or parks outside of the layby.
  • The museum is situated on a main road in the city centre on a public transport route.
  • The nearest train stations are Salford Central (2 min walk) and Manchester Victoria (15 min walk).
  • The nearest bus stop is Bridge Street (2 min walk).
  • The nearest tram stop is St Peter’s Square (10 min walk).

Find out more about getting to PHM
Entering and getting around the building

Main entrance

Entrance symbol

  • There is street lighting on Left Bank, and the foyer is brightly lit to make it easier to see the museum from outside.
  • The ramp to the museum has a handrail to the left side.  There are also six steps to the left side of the main entrance, with a handrail on either side.
  • The main entrance to the museum is on Left Bank, and has an assisted glass door which opens outward when the button in front of it is pressed.  The clear door opening width for the assisted glass door is approximately 44 inches (1,118mm).
  • The main entrance leads directly to the foyer and Info Desk on the ground floor, and is level throughout.
  • The Info desk is to the left, around 20 paces from the main entrance, to the left.

How busy is the museum?

Quiet space symbol

  • When arriving at the museum, the Info Desk area may be busy with visitors and groups arriving.  The Processional Way can also be a busy space.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please speak to a member of staff.
  • We recommend quieter hours between 2.00pm and 5.00pm Monday to Friday, and between 10.00am and 12.00pm on Sunday mornings.
  • Fridays can be quieter, as we don’t book groups on this day.  Please note that some groups may still visit on a Friday.
  • We have a quiet space available, if you need to use this during your visit ask any member of staff.

Starting your visit

Assistance dogs welcome symbol

  • Assistance dogs are welcome, with water available on request.
  • The Info Desk has a low counter area and induction hearing loop.
  • A selection of communication cards are available at the Info Desk.
  • There is a manual wheelchair available for free hire.  Please contact the museum before your visit if you require use of the wheelchair.
  • There are plug points in the Processional Way for mobility scooters and battery operated wheelchairs.
  • Lockers are located on the lower ground floor of the museum.  They require a free token (available from the Info Desk) or a £1 coin to operate which is refundable when you retrieve your belongings.
  • Some of our lockers may not be accessible for all visitors, please ask a staff member for assistance.

Image of Visitor exploring the galleries at People's History Museum.

Exploring the museum

  • There is lift access to all floors.
  • The lift near the foyer is wheelchair accessible, has tactile marking of either braille or raised numbers, and has audio announcements.
  • The lift in the Engine Hall is suitable for manual wheelchairs but may not be large enough for electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters.  During your visit staff can advise on ways to move around the museum.
  • The clear door opening widths to the Engine Hall, Changing Exhibition Gallery, and main galleries are all approximately 64 inches (1,626 mm).  The doors are the appropriate weight and within the required range, but Visitor Experience Assistants are happy to help open them.
  • General signage is large print black vinyl lettering on white walls.  There is large print black vinyl lettering on a yellow background to indicate which floor you are on.  Large print yellow vinyl signage on the staircase directs the way to the main galleries.
  • The Welcome Wall in the Processional Way to the right of the Info Desk uses a mix of text and images to show highlights of the museum’s collection and advertise upcoming events.  There is currently no Large Print, audio or braille of the Welcome Wall, a member of staff can assist with accessing this information on the day of your visit.
  • The temperature is lower in all galleries due to air conditioning systems.
  • Use PHM’s Visual Story to familiarise yourself with the museum building ahead of your visit.


In case of emergency:

  • There are visual and audio alarms present in the lift near the foyer, in case of emergency or evacuation.
  • As part of the museum’s Health and Safety Policy, staff are trained to assist with evacuation of the building in case of an emergency.
  • The museum has refuge points on each level.

Download a visitor map (also available from the Info Desk)
Image of Visitors on a guided tour of People's History Museum's main galleries.

Public events

  • A traffic light system will be used during public events.  Attendees can display a coloured dot to signify how they would like to communicate with others during the event.
  • If you require British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation and/or Audio Description please contact or 0161 838 9190 in advance of your visit.  This is subject to availability.
  • Ear defenders, sensory fidgets, paper, and colouring pencils are available from the Info Desk for use at public events.

Check out what's on


Accessible toilets:Toilet symbol.

  • Accessible toilets are located on the lower ground floor, ground floor and second floor.
  • The toilets on the ground floor near the foyer are gendered.  All other accessible toilets are gender neutral.
  • All toilets are accessible by lift with no steps or ramps.
  • Wheelchair accessible baby changing facilities are available in the ground floor and second floor toilets.
  • There is braille on the toilet doors to provide further assistance.
  • We do not have a changing places toilet.  Find the nearest changing places toilet.


Using the facilities:

  • The doorways of the accessible toilets are approximately 39 inches (991mm) wide.
  • There is a clear space to the side of each accessible toilet of approximately 29 inches (737mm).
  • The lower ground floor accessible toilet is left side transfer and has the largest transfer space.
  • The accessible toilets near the foyer on the ground floor are both right side transfer.
  • The accessible toilets in the Engine Hall on the ground floor and off Main Gallery Two on the second floor are both left side transfer.
  • The height of all the accessible toilets is approximately 16 inches (406mm).
  • In the accessible toilets near the foyer and in the Engine Hall there are two vertical grab rails on either side of the sink.  There is one vertical rail next to the toilet which can be lowered for extra assistance, one horizontal rail next to the toilet, and one horizontal handrail on the door.
  • The lower ground and second floor accessible toilets all have the same amount of handrails as above, except they do not have handrails on the door.
  • All accessible toilets have red alarm cords in case of emergency.  The fire alarm has sounders and flashing lights.
  • All toilets are brightly lit with ceiling spotlights and include emergency lighting.
  • All toilets have lever taps, and a mixture of hand dryers and paper towels.

Picnic area and cafe

Picnic area

Processional Way at People's History Museum, including picnic tables and benches and the entrance to the Engine Hall space.

  • Our picnic area is in the Processional Way, to the right of the Info Desk, where you can enjoy a packed lunch.
  • There are tables, benches and stools, which can easily be moved by staff to accommodate wheelchair users or pushchairs.
  • We ask that visitors using the picnic area clear their areas after use and take their rubbish with them to reduce waste.
  • No eating or drinking is permitted in the galleries.

Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar

Open Kitchen green logo

  • The museum’s onsite cafe bar, Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar, offer breakfast, lunch and drinks.
  • The cafe has different opening times to the museum and is open 8.00am to 4.00pm.  Remember you won’t be able to access the cafe for the final hour of the museum’s opening hours.
  • Cafe staff have knowledge of different dietary needs and can advise visitors regarding allergens.
  • Menus are available at the counter.  Staff are happy to provide extra information as required, including help accessing the menu information.
  • Free tap water is available at the cafe.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome in the cafe.
  • The cafe accept card payment only.

Find out more about the cafe

The cafe space

Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar at People’s History Museum.

  • The clear door opening width from the museum into the cafe is approximately 72 inches (1,829mm).
  • The cafe is level throughout, with large spaces between seats and fixtures for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
  • There is a mix of seating provided.  There are two types of firm seat with no arm rests, upholstered comfy chairs with arm rests, and taller ‘poser tables’ with high seating on the terrace outside.
  • Cafe staff are happy to move tables and chairs for guests with additional requirements.
  • The cafe is well lit and uses a mix of ceiling spotlights, fluorescent tube lighting and big ceiling lamps.
  • There is occasionally background music and noise from the coffee machines.

Image of People's History Museum shop.


  • The museum shop is within the foyer, to the left of the main entrance.
  • There is level access throughout and large spaces between fixtures for a wheelchair or pushchair.
  • The shop displays are built into the walls and there is open access to the shelves.  There are no more than three shelves on each shelving unit.
  • Some materials may be at an inaccessible height for wheelchair users; staff will assist in accessing these materials.
  • There are also stand alone shop display units within the foyer, with space between them for a wheelchair or pushchair.
  • The induction hearing loop at the Info Desk services this area.
  • The shop accepts both card and cash payments.
  • There is also a selection of materials available via PHM’s online shop.

Find out more about PHM shop
Support for:

Neurodiverse visitors - click here for further information
Dyslexic visitors - click here for further information
Learning disabled visitors - click here for further information
Blind and partially sighted visitors - click here for further information
D/deaf visitors - click here for further information
Seating, lighting, and flooring


  • The picnic area in the Processional Way has tables, benches and stools, which can easily be moved by staff to accommodate wheelchair users or pushchairs.
  • In the main galleries padded square stools are available at various points.
  • In Main Gallery One there are benches with backs in the Mini Theatre, and wooden chairs at two different points in the gallery.
  • In Main Gallery Two there is a row of four seats by the football displays.
  • If you need a different type of seating with better arm or back support during your visit, please ask a member of staff.
  • In the Changing Exhibition Gallery benches and stools are available.


  • The foyer is well lit, with fluorescent tube lighting in the Processional Way, ceiling spotlights in the foyer, and LED strip lighting in the shop.
  • The Changing Exhibition Gallery displays are lit by overhead LED spotlights.
  • The main galleries currently use both halogen spotlights and LED spotlights.
  • Lighting in the main galleries is at a low level to protect paintings and banners.  We are aware this could be an issue for visitors.  It will be considered as part of future refurbishment and development plans.


  • The floor surface in the main entrance and foyer is anti-slip vinyl resin.
  • The Changing Exhibition Gallery has a wooden floor surface.
  • The main galleries have short pile carpets.
  • All toilets have non-slip floor surfaces, either tile or vinyl.
  • The floor surface in the cafe is anti-slip black vinyl resin.

Find out more

  • You can contact Disability Equality NW for advice and guidance on equipment hire, wheelchair repair, Shopmobility, and RADAR toilets.  Museum staff are happy to use the telephone or internet to help with these enquiries.
  • The nearest train stations are Salford Central (2 min walk) and Manchester Victoria (15 min walk).
  • Find out more about planning a family visit.
  • We are always looking for feedback on how we can improve the museum’s accessibility and visitor experience.   If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact the museum on or 0161 838 9190.

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