Book your visit & visiting information

Find out how to book and plan your visit, and what to expect when you get to PHM.

Everything you need to know about visiting People's History Museum

What are PHM’s opening hours?

  • Open: Wed to Sun, 10.00am to 4.00pm
  • Closed: Mon and Tues
  • Radical Lates: Second Thurs each month, onsite or online


Is PHM free to visit?

Yes, entry to the museum remains free, with a suggested donation of £5.

PHM is a registered charity and all support is gratefully received.  Join the Radicals and help PHM continue to champion ideas worth fighting for.

Planning your visit

Do I need to book to visit?

Yes; to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, PHM is asking all visitors to book a timed entry slot ticket via Eventbrite, where visitors can select a date and time to visit the museum.  This helps us manage the number of visitors at the museum and supports social distancing.  This information also ensures the museum can support NHS Test and Trace.

In line with government regulations, the maximum group size we are able to welcome is six.

PHM will ensure some capacity is reserved for visitors who are unable to book to visit online, who can register on arrival at the museum using a smartphone, or by adding their details to a paper registration form.

How do I book for a timed entry slot?

Follow the link below to book to visit with a timed entry slot.  You are able to book your visit four weeks in advance.

Register to visit

How will I receive my booking confirmation?

You will receive your booking confirmation by email, though you do not need to bring this with you as Visitor Services staff will check your full name from the list of registered visitors when you arrive.

Do I need to print my booking confirmation?

No; as PHM is committed to sustainability and to ensure less contact, we ask you not to print your booking confirmation.  Visitor Services staff will check your full name from the list of registered visitors when you arrive.

Will I be able to visit if I have not booked in advance?

Whilst we cannot guarantee entry will be available for those who have not booked to visit in advance, we will ensure some capacity is reserved for those unable to book to visit online.

If you are unable to book to visit online you can register when you arrive at the museum using your smartphone, or by adding your details to a paper registration form.

What if I miss my time slot?

You should arrive within 30 minutes of your timed entry slot booked, but if you arrive earlier or later we will do our best to accommodate you.  However if the museum reaches capacity you may be asked to wait.  This is for the safety of visitors and staff, ensuring social distancing inside the museum is maintained.

How can I travel to the museum?

PHM is located in the Spinningfields area of Manchester city centre.  You can visit on foot, by bike, bus, train or tram, or use nearby city centre parking.  See the Visit page for further information on how to get to PHM.

Check with travel providers for more information on their services.  We recommend you visit Transport for Greater Manchester’s website to plan your journey and get up to date government guidance on travelling by public transport.

What should I do when I arrive at the museum?

Signs outside the museum and as you enter the building will inform you of what to expect during your visit, and Visitor Services staff at the museum’s Info Desk will help with any queries you have.

Visitor Services staff will check your full name from the list of registered visitors when you arrive.

How long will a visit to the museum take?

We recommend you set aside one hour and 30 minutes for your visit, but of course you are welcome to stay longer.

As well as exploring the main galleries and exhibitions, take time to browse the books, gifts and souvenirs in PHM’s shop, where every purchase supports the museum.

Take a break from exploring with a sustainable, ethical, and delicious food experience at Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar at PHM; offering breakfast, lunch and drinks to grab and go, or sit in and enjoy.

A picnic area is available for visitors bringing their own food and drink to the museum.

It is possible that queuing will be required to enter the busier parts of the museum.  We will be very grateful for your patience and understanding where this is required.

Can I book a group visit?

Following government guidance and due to the limited space in PHM’s main galleries, we are unable to accommodate groups of more than six people whilst social distancing measures are in place.

PHM offers a range of online learning sessions created for groups.  The sessions can be adapted to suit different ages and needs, and learners can participate from home, school or other places of learning.

Sign up to receive PHM’s Learning e-newsletter to be the first to hear the latest news.

Safety

Is social distancing in place at the museum?

Yes; we are asking all visitors to book a timed entry slot ticket to allow us to manage the number of people in the building, allowing space for social distancing.

Help us to keep you safe by adhering to the government guidance on social distancing.  Where possible, please keep two metres apart from other visitors who are not in your household.

A clearly signed visitor route is in place around the museum to support social distancing.

What other safety measures are in place?

Asking all visitors to book a timed entry slot ticket ensures the museum can support NHS Test and Trace.

If you are visiting Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar please also register your visit to the cafe when you are there, by using the NHS Test and Trace app on your smartphone to scan the QR code displayed in the cafe.  Alternatively you can add your details to a paper registration form provided.

Hand washing and hand sanitiser stations are located throughout the museum, including at key points such as entrances, exits, and interactive experiences to ensure visitors can wash and sanitise their hands regularly.

A protective clear screen has been installed at the Info Desk, and contactless donations and payments are encouraged.

A protective clear screen has been installed at Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar’s till area, and contactless payments are encouraged.

Enhanced cleaning regimes have been implemented throughout the museum in line with government guidance, especially in busy visitor areas, with special attention given to stair handrails, doors, lifts, toilet areas, and interactive experiences.

Are visitors required to wear face coverings?

In line with government guidance, all visitors should wear a face covering.  If required, single use face masks are available to visitors on arrival, with donations encouraged to support the museum.

All museum staff have been provided with clear visors or face masks.  There are some circumstances where people are not expected to wear face coverings.  Please be respectful of others, whether they are wearing a face covering or not.

Are face coverings available at the museum?

Yes; if required, single use face masks are available to visitors on arrival, with donations encouraged to support the museum.

What should I do if I fall ill with Covid-19 symptoms within seven days of visiting the museum (or any other public building)?

You should not visit PHM if you are feeling unwell.  If you develop Covid-19 symptoms within seven days of visiting, it is vital you follow the latest NHS Test and Trace guidance so anyone you have come in to contact with can be informed.

PHM and Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar will also follow NHS Test and Trace guidance should any member of the staff teams develop Covid-19 symptoms.

When you book to visit we will retain your name and contact details for the purposes of NHS Test and Trace.  You can find out more in PHM’s Data Protection and Privacy Policy.

What to expect from your visit

What can I explore?

Visit PHM’s two permanent galleries Main Gallery One and Main Gallery Two, where you’ll meet the radicals and changemakers of the last 200 years.  Explore the ground-breaking stories of the Peterloo Massacre, the Match Girls’ Strike, votes for women, workers’ rights, and much more.

In the main galleries you’ll find hands-on interactives and two immersive digital experiences, allowing greater access to PHM’s collections and stories, engaging adults and children alike.

Exploring migration at People's History Museum. Illustration by Danielle Rhoda

On display across the main galleries, visit the 2020 – 2021 Banner Exhibition, a selection of historic and contemporary banners reflecting on past and present migration movements, exploring the many challenges and opportunities migration presents.

Discover a series of exhibitions, installations, events, workshops, and activities, both onsite and online, exploring the theme of migration – suitable for a range of ages, see individual event information.

For further information about onsite and online exhibitions, installations, and events, check out what’s on and Ideas Worth Exploring at home and online.

See behind the scenes into The Conservation Studio through the viewing window in Main Gallery Two.

Browse PHM’s shop, where all purchases made support the museum.

Take a break from exploring with a sustainable, ethical, and delicious food experience at Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar at PHM; offering breakfast, lunch and drinks to grab and go, or sit in and enjoy.

A picnic area is available for visitors bringing their own food and drink to the museum.

Delve into the collections at the Labour History Archive & Study Centre, by advanced appointment only.  See further details below.

A clearly signed visitor route is in place around the museum to support social distancing.

Are interactive features available?

The majority of interactives in the main galleries are available, with an enhanced cleaning regime and additional control measures in place to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.  Interactives requiring close contact with the face will be temporarily unavailable.

Where interactives have been removed we’ve added signage with ideas for activities that visitors can do safely using their imaginations.

Use of hand sanitiser is encouraged, located at stations at key points in and around both main galleries.

The museum’s gallery content and experiences will be reviewed regularly to identify where any changes need to be made.

We Love Kids in Museums

Are there things for families to do?

Yes!  PHM is a previous winner of Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award, and we welcome visitors of all ages and abilities and families of all shapes and sizes.  The museum is Family Friendly throughout, from facilities to family favourites including hands-on interactives and activities connecting you and your family with PHM’s unique collections and stories.

Where toys, books or interactives have been removed we’ve added signage with ideas for activities that families can do safely using their imaginations.

In the main galleries you’ll find hands-on interactives and two immersive digital experiences, allowing greater access to PHM’s collections and stories, engaging adults and children alike.  In Main Gallery One discover the Match Girls’ Strike of 1888 and experience the harsh working conditions at the Bryant & May match factory through an arcade style game.  In Main Gallery Two get up close to items from strikes that changed the face of protest using augmented reality (AR) through a specially created app revealing 3D digital scans of objects and archive material.  Download the app ahead of your visit to your Apple or Android device.

PHM offers an engaging programme of Family Friendly exhibitions, installations, events, workshops, and activities, both onsite and online, suitable for a range of ages; check out what’s on for families.

Browse PHM’s shop for pocket money friendly souvenirs, and books about inspiring people from history, to inspire little radicals for the future.  Recurrent winner of the “Toymark” Good Practice Award, PHM shop is recognised for its inclusivity and for challenging gender stereotypes by the Let Toys be Toys campaign.

Take a break from exploring with a sustainable, ethical, and delicious food experience at Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar at PHM; offering breakfast, lunch and drinks to grab and go, or sit in and enjoy.  Open Kitchen is working in partnership with PHM to develop a Family Friendly offer to ensure the cafe is welcoming and affordable to all families, and feedback is welcome to help create a child friendly menu that balances healthy with appealing, even for picky youngsters.

Continue your visit at home through more Ideas Worth Exploring; online events, activities, and resources to connect the whole family with PHM’s unique collections and stories, exploring the development of democracy in Britain.

Are exhibitions and events happening at PHM?

Exploring migration at People's History Museum. Illustration by Danielle Rhoda

Yes; discover a series of exhibitions, installations, events, workshops, and activities, both onsite and online, exploring the theme of migration – suitable for a range of ages, see individual event information.

For further information about onsite and online exhibitions, installations, and events, check out what’s on and Ideas Worth Exploring at home and online.

To be the first to hear about exhibitions, installations, and events at the museum, sign up to receive PHM’s e-newsletter.

Is the Labour History Archive & Study Centre open?

Yes; the Labour History Archive & Study Centre is open Wed to Fri, 10.00am to 4.00pm (lunchtime closure 12.00pm to 1.00pm), closed Mon, Tues, weekends, all English bank holidays, and additional days around Christmas and New Year.

Booking an archive appointment in advance is essential by email to archive@phm.org.uk (not by telephone), with a minimum of seven working days’ notice required.  No access without appointment.

Is The Conservation Studio open?

Yes; see behind the scenes into a working conservation studio through the viewing window in Main Gallery Two.

Facilities

Is the shop open?

Yes; the shop is open on the same days and times as the museum.

The number of visitors in the main shop area at the same time will be limited to two people or one household or support bubble.  Shop stock and displays have been spread out into the museum foyer area to support social distancing.

We ask visitors not to touch products unless they intend to purchase them.  Contactless payment is encouraged.

A clearly signed visitor route is in place around the museum to support social distancing.

You can also visit PHM’s online shop to browse and purchase a selection of products available from PHM’s onsite shop.

All purchases made from PHM’s shop both onsite and online support the museum, helping us continue to champion ideas worth fighting for.

Is the cafe open?

Yes; take a break from exploring with a sustainable, ethical, and delicious food experience at Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar at PHM; offering breakfast, lunch and drinks to grab and go, or sit in and enjoy.

Please also register your visit to the cafe when you are there, by using the NHS Test and Trace app on your smartphone to scan the QR code displayed in the cafe.  Alternatively you can add your details to a paper registration form provided.

A protective clear screen has been installed at the cafe’s till area, and contactless payments are encouraged.

Can I use cash to make a donation or pay for purchases?

Yes; we accept cash.  We would be grateful if you could use contactless payments where possible to reduce the need to pass anything between visitors and staff.

Can I bring my own food and drink and where can I have it?

Yes; a picnic area is available for visitors bringing their own food and drink to the museum.

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.

Are toilets and baby changing facilities available?

Yes; toilets with hand washing facilities and baby changing facilities are available, and enhanced cleaning regimes have been implemented in these areas.

Disposable paper towels are available in place of hand dryers, with the exception of single occupancy toilet cubicles, where hand dryers are available.

Hand sanitiser stations are located throughout the museum, including at key points such as entrances, exits, and interactive experiences.

Are lockers or a cloakroom available?

No cloakroom facilities are available, and we ask that you don’t bring large bags or luggage to the museum.

A limited number of small self-service lockers requiring a returnable £1 coin are available on a first come first served basis, situated outside the Labour History Archive & Study Centre on the lower ground floor.

Can I hire an event space at PHM?

Yes; PHM’s Venue Hire Team are working in accordance with the latest government guidance, welcoming bookings for distanced and hybrid events and celebrations.

Find out more about the museum’s event spaces available for hire.

How can I give feedback following my visit?

We welcome feedback on how to improve a visit to PHM.  If you would like to share feedback, please speak to a member of staff when visiting, or phone the museum on 0161 838 9190, or email the relevant department or member of staff.  Find PHM’s contact information.

Query not answered here?

If you have any queries that have not been answered here, please contact the relevant department or member of staff by email or by phoning the museum on 0161 838 9190.

We are hugely grateful to the generosity of our funders who have supported People’s History Museum (PHM) during our period of closure and to reopen safely:

Arts Council England, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Here for Culture, Manchester City Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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