Taking Stock

Since late 2023, Manchester Art Gallery has embarked on an unprecedented initiative: Taking Stock of its extensive collection. Over the next year, Gallery 17 will be transformed into an ‘open store’ where over 6600 objects, including paintings, works on paper, ceramics, glass and sculpture, will be reviewed, evaluated, and reimagined.

Join us for a unique opportunity as we delve into the significance of these objects, exploring their acquisition stories and considering who and what may be missing or underrepresented. Witness the process firsthand through our viewing platform at the gallery 17 entrance or book your place on a guided tour led by our knowledgeable staff.

Come, discover and engage with us.

Due to limited staff capacity we are unable to offer group tours of the Taking Stock Store.


Taking Stock – Tours and Talks

Get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to delve behind the scenes of Manchester Art Gallery’s remarkable collection. 

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 – Old Manchester

How can these 1054 objects and images help us to understand the ever-changing city of Manchester? 

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.

What is a Collection Review? 

Reviewing collections is an important activity for any gallery.  

A review tells us what we have and what condition it is in. It gives us the opportunity to consider its purpose. for example:  

  • The collection is owned by the people of Manchester, does its content reflect their needs and interests?  
  • Are all artists and subjects represented?  
  • In what ways can an object or artwork be used for a learning or engagement need?  

Read more

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

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.

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.

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.

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