Manchester Museum – Manchester, England - Atlas Obscura

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Manchester Museum

19th century museum with an eclectic mix of curiosities, from Egyptian artifacts to items on archery history to the skull of the world's oldest horse. 


There is a little bit of everything in the Manchester Museum at the University of Manchester, which houses objects related to natural history, archeology, ancient Egypt, archery, and earth sciences.

The museum is both a public museum and a resource for the students at the university. Its first objects were amassed through the Manchester Society of Natural History and the Manchester Geological Society before what was then Owens College took over the two collections in 1867. The museum where they are housed today, designed by Alfred Waterhouse who also did the natural history museum in London, was opened in 1888.

Its collection now has an incredibly diverse group of objects which includes a collection of 2,000 items all related to the history of archery, around 900,000 Coleoptera beetles, and the skull of the world’s oldest horse, known as Old Billy, who lived his 62 years in the Manchester area. There are also ancient Egyptian artifacts, a collection of 166,000 mollusks, a herbarium and a herpatarium with live and endangered reptiles and amphibians. Some of the newer exhibit areas have neon lettering and artistic touches (like a taxidermy animal wearing a sweater) while others still look like artifacts from a 19th-century museum.

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Entrance to the museum is free.

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