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Lift closure

The museum’s main lift will be closed for necessary maintenance from Tues 28 May to Mon 3 June 2024, affecting lift access to Gallery Two.

Our smaller lift allows access to Gallery One.

Find out more about access at PHM

Access | Ideas worth sharing

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.

Lift closure: Tues 28 May to Mon 3 June 2024

The museum’s main lift will be closed for necessary maintenance, affecting lift access to Gallery Two.

Our smaller lift allows access to Gallery One.

Find out more about access at PHM

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 access@phm.org.uk.  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, Manchester city centre.

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 from the museum.  Please do not drop off on Bridge Street on the same side as the museum as a bus gate is in operation.
  • The layby on Left Bank, the road opposite the museum’s main entrance, is available for drop off only.
  • 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 sliding glass doors which open automatically via a motion sensor.
  • The main entrance leads directly to the foyer ahead and welcome desk to the left on the ground floor, and is level throughout.

How busy is the museum?

Quiet space symbol.

  • When arriving at the museum, the welcome 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.
  • The museum is less busy between 3.00pm and 5.00pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and between 10.00am and 12.00pm on Sunday mornings.
  • Our dedicated quiet time is between 2.00pm and 5.00pm on Fridays.
  • We have a Quiet Room available; if you need to use this during your visit ask any member of staff.

Starting your visit

Assistance dogs welcome symbol.

  • Assistance dogs and dogs registered with the Emotional Support Animal Registry are welcome, with water available on request.
  • The welcome desk has a low counter area and induction hearing loop.
  • A selection of communication cards are available at the welcome 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.
  • There are 12 lockers located on the ground floor and 12 lockers located on the lower ground floor, of varying sizes.  Lockers are key operated and do not require a coin.
  • Some of our lockers may not be accessible for all visitors, please ask a staff member for assistance.

Image of Visitor lifting a flap in the museum galleries to reveal the meaning behind different uses of colour on banners.

Exploring the museum

  • During your visit staff can advise on ways to move around 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.  It has a door opening of 1,280mm and depth inside of 2,560mm.
  • The lift in the Engine Hall is suitable for manual wheelchairs but may not be large enough for electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters.  It has a door opening 780mm wide and depth inside of 1,390 mm.
  • The clear door opening widths to the Engine Hall, Gallery One, Gallery Two, and Gallery Three are all approximately 1,626mm.  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 dark blue vinyl text on yellow backgrounds.  There is large print dark blue vinyl text on a yellow background to indicate which floor you are on.
  • 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:

  • Staff are trained to assist with evacuation of the building in case of an emergency.
  • There are visual and audio alarms present in the lift near the foyer, in case of emergency or evacuation.
  • 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 access@phm.org.uk 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 welcome desk for use at public events.

Check out what's on

Toilets

  • Toilets are signposted throughout the building with large print dark blue vinyl text and symbols on yellow backgrounds.
    toilet symbol.
  • There are gender neutral and left and right transfer accessible toilets on the ground floor.
  • There is a Changing Places toilet on the ground floor.  Use a RADAR key or ask at the welcome desk for access.
  • There are gendered toilets on the ground floor.
  • There is one gender neutral left transfer accessible toilet on the lower ground floor and one on the second floor.
  • All toilets are accessible by lift with no steps or ramps.
  • Wheelchair accessible baby changing facilities are available in the ground floor toilets.

 

Using the facilities:

  • Inside the entrance to the ground floor toilets there is a small bench seat and a water bottle filling station.
  • The doorways of the accessible toilets are approximately 914mm wide.
  • The doorway of the Changing Places toilet is approximately 1,162mm wide.
  • The height of the accessible toilets is approximately 457mm.
  • There is a clear space to the side of each accessible toilet of at least 290mm.
  • The ground floor accessible toilets each have two grab rails on either side of the toilet (one vertical, one horizontal), one vertical grab rail next to the toilet which can be lowered for extra assistance, two vertical grab rails on either side of the sink, and one horizontal grab rail on the back of the door.
  • The lower ground and second floor accessible toilets each have one vertical grab rail next to the toilet which can be lowered for extra assistance, and two vertical grab rails on either side of the sink.
  • The ground floor accessible toilets have door handles that lift up to lock.  Accessible toilets on the lower ground floor and second floor have separate door handles and locks.
  • 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.
  • Toilets have a mixture of lever taps, motion sensor operated taps, hand dryers, and paper towels.

Picnic area and cafe

Picnic area

digital screen on the wall above picnic tables and benches in the foyer area on the ground floor at People's History Museum.

  • Our picnic area is in the Processional Way, to the right of the welcome desk, where you can enjoy a packed lunch.
  • There are tables and benches, 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

text reading 'Open Kitchen' in green.

  • 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 and dogs registered with the Emotional Support Animal Registry are welcome in the cafe, with water available on request.
  • The cafe accepts 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 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 the gift shop at 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 welcome desk services the shop area.
  • The shop accepts both card and cash payments.

Visit PHM's online 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

Seating

  • The picnic area in the Processional Way has tables and benches, which can easily be moved by staff to accommodate wheelchair users or pushchairs.
  • In Gallery One and Gallery Two padded square stools are available at various points.
  • In Gallery One there are benches with backs in the Mini Theatre, and wooden chairs at two different points in the gallery.
  • In 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 Gallery Three benches and stools are available.

Lighting

  • 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.
  • Gallery One and Gallery Two currently use both halogen spotlights and LED spotlights.
  • Gallery Three displays are lit by overhead LED spotlights.
  • Lighting in Gallery One and Gallery Two 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.

Flooring

  • The floor surface in the main entrance and foyer area is anti-slip vinyl resin.
  • Gallery One and Gallery Two have short pile carpets.
  • Gallery Three has a wooden floor surface.
  • 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.
  • 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 access@phm.org.uk or 0161 838 9190.

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