Manchester Histories Festival is Back to Town

Manchester Histories Festival, March 2014From the 21- 30th March 2014 Manchester Histories Festival returns. Offering music, film, debate, talks by renowned historians, performance, walking tours, exhibitions, plus lots of events especially for families and children – a majority of which are free. MHF aims to both celebrate the familiar and reveal the new and hidden histories from across Greater Manchester. Whether people would describe themselves as history fans or not, MHF has something for everyone.

Discover the tale of Maharajah, the elephant that walked from Edinburgh to Manchester and whose skeleton takes pride of place in Manchester Museum. Get hands on with some real Roman artifacts. Bee special at People’s History Museum. Dig into some ‘Tudor style’ gardening at Salford’s Ordsall Hall. And listen to the story of Manchester’s Coat of Arms and celebrate the qualities that make this city and the people who live in it, extraordinary!

Family Friendly Festival Highlights 21-30 March 2014

Thank you
A spectacular two-mile laser beam artwork located at the Quays/MediaCityUK will light up the night skies across Manchester, Trafford and Salford for one week, pulsing ‘thank you’ in Morse code. Artist Craig Morrison’s powerful work is inspired by the mathematician, wartime code breaker and father of computer science and Manchester icon Alan Turing OBE. The artwork is a tribute to the impact that Turing continues to have on how we live today in a digitally connected world.
Every evening 21-28 March at from 5pm to 11pm.

I <3MCR Big Saturday
There are many fascinating stories behind the objects at Manchester Museum. Discover the tale of Maharajah, the elephant that walked from Edinburgh to Manchester’s Belle Vue Zoo and whose skeleton now takes pride of place in Manchester Museum. Investigate the Manchester Gallery and uncover the secrets of more of the objects in the collection.
Saturday 22 March, 11am-4pm.
Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL.
Booking not required

Roman Object Handling
Bring your budding archaeologists along to Manchester Museum for a chance handle some real Roman objects from the museums collection.
Saturday 22 March, 12noon-1pm.
Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL.
Booking not required

Saturday Spectacular Family Fun Day
To coincide with the opening weekend of Manchester’s Central Library and the launch of Archives+ come and enjoy the very first Saturday Spectacular. ‘Get the buzz’ at the launch of the beehive handling box and take part in craft activities (12pm-1pm). Make your own gingerbread bees whilst listening to the Polish folk tale ‘Gingerbread bee’s’, a charming tale of clever Bogumil who loved Katarzyna, the baker’s daughter (1-2pm). Join a crafting session to create your own family crest (2-3pm). And finally listen to ‘Mr Ordinary’s prize’, an original story that illustrates the symbolism of the Manchester Coat of Arms and celebrates the qualities that make this city and the people who live in it, extraordinary (3-4pm).
Saturday 22 March, 12-4pm.
Manchester Central Library, St Peters Square, Manchester M2 5PD.
Booking not required

The Little People’s History Museum – Beeing Special
Meet Little Bee, the bee who wants to be different. Join in the busy bee dance, search for flowers in the museum and follow Little Bee’s adventure to find out how he becomes the hero of Victorian Manchester. Fun interactive story session with puppets, song, dance and a craft activity.
11am-12noon Saturday 22 March.
People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER.
Under 5‘s.
Booking advised via People’s History Museum
£1 – adults free

A Victorian Pharmacy
Learn all about the world of the Victorian Pharmacy in this tour of Lark Hill Place with special attention to the medications of the Victorian time – both those sold by Mr. Hamer from his pharmacy, and the more homespun remedies used in the home. Also included is mention of Mrs Driver, Lark Hill Place’s very own ‘Bleeder with leeches’! The tour will last around 45 minutes.
Saturday 22 March, 2.30pm.
Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Peel Park, The Cresent, Salford, M5 4WU.
Age 5+.
Booking required via Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Belle Vue Monkeys | Chethams Library

Belle Vue Monkeys, Courtesy of Chethams Library

Belle Vue Roadshow
A day long celebration of all things Belle Vue at the magnificent Gorton Monastery. Featuring film screenings, performances from Gorton Philharmonic Orchestra, talks, art workshops for children and adults led by Gorton Visual Arts and teachers from Oasis Academy Aspinal, demonstrations by the Belle Vue Aces and information stalls showcasing a variety of Belle Vue archives.


Sunday 23 March, 11am – 4:30pm
Gorton Monastery, Manchester, M12 5WF.

MHF Celebration Day
Bringing together nearly 90 histories and heritage organisations from across Greater Manchester with exhibition stands, games, film screenings, performances and talks. Plus especially for families: pick up a free activity sheet from the Manchester Guided Tours stand in the Great Hall and explore the Town Hall together. Children can develop their own version of the Manchester Bee; design their own Shield or complete the “Find and Seek” questions to learn about Manchester’s past. Return the completed activity sheet to the stand and get a small sweet treat! Best pictures and answers submitted will be displayed on the website after the Manchester Histories Festival.
Saturday 29 March
Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, M60 2LA & Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, M2 5NS. FREE

Open Day at the Greater Manchester Police Museum
Experience what life was really like for officers in a busy Victorian police station, as well as finding out how policing has evolved to meet today’s needs. See where Manchester’s criminals were charged and fingerprinted before being put into the cells, take a seat on one of the cell beds with their wooden pillows and experience how inmates would have felt standing in the dock! Located in Manchester’s historic Northern Quarter, the Museum was once one of the cities earliest police stations and has been lovingly restored to reflect the reality of policing in the late 1800’s/early 1900‘s.
Saturday 29 March, 10.30am -3.30pm last admission at 3pm
Greater Manchester Police Museum, 57A Newton St, Manchester M1 1ET.

The Big Digital Project
This free, family-friendly event will light up Manchester Town Hall and illuminate Lloyd Street. The immersive sound and light performance piece asks; ‘What do you want to say about where you live?’ Explore the imagination and creativity of local people as we celebrate the unique stories & voices that bring to life the spirit and strength of Greater Manchester.
Saturday 29 March, 7.30 – 9pm
Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, M60 2LA.

Ordsall Hall Gardening Re-enactment
Step back 500 years into Ordsall Hall’s Tudor heyday. Meet costumed gardeners and have a go at planting and gardening ‘Tudor style.’ Learn fascinating facts and a myriad of apothecary cures from the Hall’s herb garden.
1-4pm Sunday 30 March.
Ordsall Hall, Ordsall, Salford M5 3AN.
Booking not required

The full Manchester Histories Festival programme can be viewed at

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