Taking Stock

Starting in 2023, Manchester Art Gallery is Taking Stock of the collection. This is a unique opportunity to explore the rich potential of the City’s collection and how it is used.

A programme of building repairs at Manchester Art Gallery, Platt Hall and our conservation studios in Queens Park will lead to better storage and physical access to our collections, as well as safeguarding their future. This work will transform how our collection is experienced by visitors and used by staff, volunteers, artists and communities.

The building work has been a catalyst for Taking Stock: a once in a lifetime opportunity for almost every object in our collection to pass through our hands and see the light of day. Over the coming years we’ll be focusing on reviewing and researching some of our lesser known collections, reengaging with objects that at one time or another over the last 200 years have been valued as integral to understanding or representing the city of Manchester through the arts.

As we begin the bicentenary year of the founding of our collection (1823-2023), Taking Stock is a moment to reflect on 200 years of art in the city, what that meant in the past, and what that means today. Taking Stock is about identity, care, shared responsibility and the creation of a sustainable future for Manchester Art Gallery. We’ll be guided by four key principles:

  1. Knowing who we are helps guide who we can be: The collection was created for the people of Manchester, we want to make sure that is still true today. We need to understand how our city has changed and what we need to do within the gallery to reflect Manchester’s current residents who are globally connected, creative and dynamic.
  2. We will do this work together: collaborating with our stakeholders to create a shared, transparent way of working that empowers, creates a sense of ownership for everyone working with our collections, and sparks creative joy.
  3. We can do this with care: for ourselves, our collections, our community.
  4. We will look to the future: nothing is certain. We want to give the gallery another 200 years, which means remaining relevant, sustainable and a cornerstone of life in Manchester.

Taking Stock is more than a collections review project. It is about rethinking what Manchester Art Gallery can be.


 

Collection Review – Rutherston Loans Scheme

In 1925 Charles Rutherston donated almost 500 artworks to the gallery on the condition that they would be loaned to art schools and galleries to enrich the lives and contribute to the education of ordinary people.

Collection Review – Furniture

Manchester Art Gallery is currently undertaking a review of the gallery’s furniture collection to understand it’s history, significance, and future use.
This is part of a wider review of our collections, their purpose and how they can best be used for the benefit of the people of Manchester and beyond. The review has drawn on the advice of a historic furniture and textile specialists, combined with condition assessments (by our Conservation Team) and significance and use assessments (by our Curators).  We are following Museum Association Guidelines for collection review and disposal which requires consultation with stakeholders as part of the review process and prioritises transfer to other museums and galleries in the first instance, followed by other organisations who provide public access and can offer appropriate levels of care.


 

200 Years of Manchester Art Gallery

2023 marks Manchester Art Gallery 200 years anniversary. For the entire year we will delve into the rich history of Manchester Art Gallery and look forward to its future 200 years.


Follow #MAGTakingStock on social media to find out about opportunities to take part in volunteering projects, keep up with news as the programme develops, or to have your say as we explore new ways of working.  

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Taking Stock Evaluation

An in-depth evaluation covering the whole project has been included in the project plan and will be funded by NLHF under this grant.
Download the brief and find out more about the project here.

 

Taking Stock is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund through a Dynamic Collections grant.

Taking Stock is possible thanks to the generosity of the following funders and partners