Our collection documents 250 years of discoveries and innovations that began in Manchester and went on to influence the world. It shines a light upon the achievements and experiences of the people behind those stories.
Key objects in the collection include:
- The models used by John Dalton to demonstrate his atomic theory, laying the foundations of modern chemistry.
- Parts from the world’s first commercially available computer, the Ferranti Mark 1.
- One of the world’s largest collections of working steam mill engines, which you can see in action in our Power Hall.
- The 5 listed buildings that make up the globally-important heritage site upon which the museum stands. Liverpool Road Station was the original terminus of the world’s first inter-city railway, and our 1830 Station is the world’s oldest surviving passenger station.
Research and study
The study area is home to our archive of original source material and reference books, and is available by appointment for personal, professional and academic research.
Donate an object
We’d love to hear from you if you have an item that you think might be perfect for our collection, but please don’t bring it to the museum or send it by post without arranging with us first.
If you'd like to borrow an item from our collection, please visit our Science Museum Group page. Please be aware that we’re only likely to lend items that are on display in our permanent galleries in exceptional circumstances.
Explore the Science Museum Group Journal
Challenges of conservation: working objects
This paper discusses the concepts and practice of museum conservation, and the role of conservation in preserving both material and significance of objects.
The Language of Electricity
In 2016, the museum commissioned Bill Morrison to produce a film for the exhibition Electricity: The spark of life. In this interview, Morrison discusses his work with archive manager Jan Hicks.
Adapting to the emergence of the automobile
This paper analyses the relationship between horse-drawn and motorised vehicles in the UK during the late 19th century, before exploring the records of Manchester coachbuilder Joseph Cockshoot and Co. that survive at the museum archive.