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What's on at Manchester's Science and Industry Museum in 2024

There's lots to look forward to in 2024, including the return of Manchester Science Festival.

  • Manchester Science Festival returns in October. 
  • World-premiere family exhibition continues to take visitors on a journey through the digestive system.  
  • NHS medal goes on display in the city where the first NHS hospital launched. 
  • Free major exhibition opens in June exploring the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • More opportunities to explore the museum after hours. 
  • New displays will explore the connections between transatlantic slavery and Manchester's cotton industry.  
  • Work begins on next phase of multi-million-pound regeneration scheme. 

2024 is shaping up to be another jam-packed year for one of Manchester's favourite museums.  

The Science and Industry Museum has announced another stellar year of major festivals and exhibitions, inspiring new displays and significant gallery updates, all exploring ideas that change the world.   

Alongside its 2024 programme of events, activities and exhibitions, the museum will embark on the next stage of its multi-million-pound renovation project, which is seeing essential work carried out to preserve and restore and redevelop its globally significant industrial heritage site. Although this means visitors will continue to see scaffolding around its historic buildings, there is still plenty to do, see and explore inside. 


Manchester Science Festival  

Friday 18 – Sunday 27 October 2024 | Free 

The biennial Manchester Science Festival will return from Friday 18 – Sunday 27 October 2024. Its free programme of events will offer the opportunity to get hands-on with some of science’s most cutting-edge developments and explore some of the biggest questions facing our planet through multi-sensory experiences, immersive performances and hands-on activities. It aims to inspire visitors of all ages and interests through science in action and showcases Manchester as a leader of progress and innovation.  

Sign up to the mailing list to be the first to find out more details about 2024's Manchester Science Festival. 


Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You  

Open now – 9 June 2024 | £10 Adults, £9 child and concession. Ages 3 and under free. 

There's still time to join a rib-tickling journey through the digestive system and enjoy super-sized experiments, playful adventure and hands-on learning in world-premiere exhibition, Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You.   

The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to explore the science of the human body from the inside out. From tongue to bum, it investigates the job of each digestive organ in keeping us healthy, breaking the taboo around poo by proving it's helpful to understand and discuss how bodies work.  

The experience is driven by curiosity and guided by Dr Chris, Dr Xand and Dr Ronx, presenters of the hit BBC Children's show Operation Ouch! Like the show, the exhibition embraces silliness in the name of science, encouraging audiences to leave their inhibitions behind as they explore the outrageous experiences on offer, which include: climbing inside a super-sized set of interactive teeth; meeting Larry the Vomiting Robot, who was designed to help scientists understand how far sick splatters (and how norovirus particles are distributed), and is on display for the first time as part of an exhibition; a once-in-a-lifetime experience of travelling like a poo and being flushed down a giant toilet; and taking part in the world’s only interactive 'pooduction' line to 'make' a poo and discover how our bodies absorb nutrients and expel waste. 


The George Cross medal, awarded to the NHS in England by Queen Elizabeth II 

9 February 2024 – January 2025 | Free 

2022 marked 75 years of the National Health Service (NHS). On the first day of the NHS, Aneurin (Nye) Bevan, health minister and founder of the NHS, symbolically launched Trafford General Hospital, Greater Manchester, as the first NHS hospital and visited the first NHS patients to be treated there.   

During its anniversary year, the George Cross medal was awarded to the NHS in England by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of the 'courage, compassion and dedication' of NHS staff and volunteers during the pandemic. After being on display at the Science Museum in London, in 2024 the medal will return to Greater Manchester, where the NHS began 76 years ago, when it goes on display at the Science and Industry Museum in February. 

The George Cross is the UK's highest civilian gallantry medal. The medal is given for acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger. As well as recognising the NHS's efforts during the COVID pandemic, the medal also commemorates the Health Service's work since it was established in 1948. It is only the third time the George Cross has been given to a collective body, rather than an individual. 


Injecting Hope: The race for a Covid-19 vaccine 

19 July - 17 November 24 | Free 

Visitors to the Science and Industry Museum can explore more items connected to the COVID-19 pandemic and delve into details about the worldwide effort to develop vaccines in Injecting Hope: The race for a COVID-19 vaccine

The free exhibition showcases objects and stories that have been collected during this global challenge. From the vial of the first COVID-19 vaccine to be administered worldwide to personal items belonging to those at the heart of its development, there are more than 100 objects to discover. The exhibition also sets out the scientific principles underlying the vaccines' creation and gives insights into the behind-the-scenes work that accompanied their rapid development, production, transport and delivery. 

Keep an eye on the museum's website for more information. 


Stephen Hawking at Work  

Open now – September 2025 | FREE 

There's an extended opportunity to take a look inside the office of one of the world's most celebrated theoretical physicists at the Science and Industry Museum. Stephen Hawking at Work explores Hawking's remarkable life as a scientist, science communicator, and as a person who lived with motor neurone disease through an intimate display of significant items from his office, the contents of which has been acquired by the Science Museum Group. The display was due to close in February, but owing to its popularity, will now remain open until September 2025. 

Highlight objects on display include a rare copy of Hawking's PhD thesis, his wheelchair and a wager he signed when challenging his peers to the Black Hole Information Paradox bet. These important items provide insights into a scientist who challenged perceptions of theoretical physics with a playful, imaginative and social approach to work. 


Art Battle: Night at the Museum 

Friday 9 February 2024, 19.00 – 10.30 | £17.50 

On Friday 9 February 2024, the museum is joining forces with Art Battle Manchester to host an after-hours evening of creative exploration. Art Battle Manchester XXII – A Night At The Museum, will be an evening of artistic action, with battling artists joined by DJs, performers and street food vendors. 

Ten new fearless artists will take centre stage to create visual artworks during an event inspired by the museum's industrial heritage and collections. Illustrators, tattooists and street artists will go head-to-head in 'the city’s most energetic art event'. Each will be given a blank canvas and 30 minutes to create a masterpiece. Crowds can move round the action, watching the art come to life and deciding who will be crowned champion. 

Tickets are available to book online now.  

After-Hours Fashion Show 

Thursday 21 March 18.30–21.00 | £10/£8 concessions 

Adult audiences are invited to experience the museum and its collection in a new way during an after-hours fashion show in March.  

The museum has partnered with Manchester-based, female-led theatre company, So La Flair, to host a 'cabaret catwalk' that celebrates sustainable fashion and self-expression. Expect a spectacle, serving fierce walks, performances and high energy dance numbers from cross-art collaboration company, Night People. The fashion show will be curated and styled by Beg Borrow Steal, a fashion-forward thrift shop, with a focus on re-using and upcycling clothing items in a way that is more friendly to both the environment and people’s pockets.  

The event will explore Manchester's rich textiles heritage through the museum's collection and including demonstrations of its historic working machinery from 20th century Manchester cotton mills. 

Sign up to the museum's mailing list to be the first to secure tickets when they go on sale.  


Early years activities (0–6 years)  

Throughout 2024 | Free 

Fresh off the back of being named the 'Most Loved Family Experience' at the 2023 I Love Manchester Awards, the Science and Industry Museum is launching new activities for early years visitors aged 0–6 in 2024. A series of 'Curiosity Stops' led by a team of expert Explainers will ignite little ones' interest in the world around them. From shadow puppet story times to exploring how to make different vehicles move, each interaction will reveal wonder and support them to discover the fun in science.    

New afternoon sensory story times will also be rolled out during term-time weekends. Visitors will join a quest to return a bear left at Liverpool Road Station to its home using different modes of transport across different terrains. The interactive story session will engage all the senses as it takes young people on a journey to discover more about the Science and Industry Museum's historic site.   

Experitots sessions—playful events specially designed for children aged 0–4—will also be available throughout the year and can be booked online. During these sessions, babies, toddlers and their adults are encouraged to explore and experiment together with help from the museum's team of friendly Explainers. 


Power UP 

Open weekend and school holidays, Tickets £8  

Open every weekend (and seven days a week during school holidays) throughout 2024, Power Up, the ultimate gaming experience, welcomes players to revel in the very best video games from the past five decades. Visitors can get hands-on with over 160 consoles and hundreds of games for an immersive journey through the history of gaming and rediscover childhood favourites like Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario, or get to grips with some of the latest developments in virtual reality.  

Events planned for school holidays later in the year will also support youngsters to discover the STEM skills behind video game creation through the lens of Manchester's digital and technological industries.  


Ongoing restoration works 

Work on the museum’s multi-million-pound restoration programme will continue throughout 2024. 

As well as ongoing work to restore the historic listed Power Hall ahead of its reopening in 2025, the Science and Industry Museum will be undertaking further urgent improvements to future-proof its historic site.   

Visitors will be able to see live engineering in action as scaffolding begins to be erected around New Warehouse in January 2024, with the building remaining open throughout. At over 140 years old, New Warehouse was originally built to support the expansion of the railway, providing essential goods storage to an expanding hub of industry. It now forms the main museum entrance building, with three floors packed full of exciting and inspiring exhibitions alongside interactive play for all ages. Essential repairs to its roof and guttering will ensure the museum can continue to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators, and improving its thermal efficiency will help it realise its ambition of achieving net zero by 2030. 


Throughout 2024 | Free 

Textiles Gallery – Manchester, Cotton and Slavery 

Additional displays in its Textiles and Revolution Manchester galleries will explore the connections between transatlantic slavery and Manchester’s cotton industry. They will uncover how the cotton industry was not only the catalyst for industrialisation, but for inequality and exploitation on both a local and a global scale. 

Highlight objects, images, audio accounts and people’s stories will examine the system of human exploitation upon which Manchester’s cotton trade was built. It will feature first-hand testimony from people who experienced and resisted enslavement, as well as the workers who toiled in Manchester’s spinning mills, and explore how this legacy continues to shape lives today.  

Through research, partnerships and consultation, the museum is working to reveal the links between Manchester and slavery and inform future displays and exhibitions. Global Threads is a public history collaboration between the museum, UCL’s Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery and a team of talented young researchers. It draws out new and previously under-represented stories related to Manchester’s cotton industry, particularly those connected to colonialism, enslavement and global movements of people and goods. 

Planting Stories 

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the world’s first steam-powered, inter-city railway, designed to transport both passengers and goods. The Manchester terminus was Liverpool Road Station, which is now home to the Science and Industry Museum. When the railway opened in 1830, it sparked a revolution in trade and travel, and changed Manchester’s outlook forever. To help tell this story, we’ve been creating colourful gardens filled with plants, trees and flowers to represent the goods that arrived at the station. In February 2024, colourful planters will be installed outside the front of the museum, giving passers-by the opportunity to explore the story of the site. 

There will be more plenty more to do, see and explore during the year at the Science and Industry Museum, including special one-off events and seasonal holiday activities. The family-favourites Experiment Gallery and Textiles Gallery will also continue to bring science to life and explore how Manchester’s identity is woven in with the cotton industry,   

Explore some of the year-round highlights with the museum’s top 40 things to see, do and discover and sign up to its newsletter to be among the first to receive announcements about the full 2024 programme. To book tickets to visit the museum and its experiences, visit its website ( or call 033 0058 0058. 


For more information, please contact communications manager, Alex Urmston, on 07741 103 790/  

Notes to editors 

About the Science and Industry Museum  

The Science and Industry Museum tells the story of where science met industry and the modern world began. Manchester was one of the first global industrial cities, and its epic rise, decline and resurrection has been echoed in countless other cities around the world.   

The museum's mission is to inspire all its visitors, including future scientists and inventors, with the story of how ideas can change the world, from the industrial revolution to today and beyond.   

The Science and Industry Museum is on the site of the Liverpool Road Station terminus of the Liverpool Manchester Railway, the world's first purpose-built passenger railway. Among its internationally significant buildings are the world's first passenger railway station and the oldest existing railway goods warehouse. In total there are two Grade I listed buildings and four Grade II listed buildings on the site.  

The museum is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound regeneration project that will see brand new spaces opened and significant improvements made to some of its best-loved galleries.  

The Science and Industry Museum is part of the Science Museum Group, a family of museums which also includes the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York and Shildon; and the Science and Media Museum in Bradford. The Science Museum Group is devoted to the history and contemporary practice of science, medicine, technology, industry and media. With five million visitors each year and an unrivalled collection, it is the most significant group of museums of science and innovation worldwide.