As you’ve probably gathered by now, Manchester was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Its legacy is all around you but, for a beginner’s guide to how the city kick-started modern manufacturing, computing, communications and more, head to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)’s Revolution Manchester gallery.
MOSI, now part of Britain’s National Science Museum and recently threatened with closure, is housed across five listed buildings that once formed Liverpool Road railway station, the world’s oldest surviving passenger station and the gateway to the 1830 line to Liverpool. Revolution Manchester provides a route into the museum and introduces its main themes; using colour-coding to point you towards more detailed galleries on engineering, transport, energy, textiles and communications and other heritage sites around the region.
Rare historical artefacts, from a compact steam engine to a reconstruction of the world’s first stored-program computer, give a flavour of Manchester’s pioneering role in industry, science and technology. Developments are explained on AV screens – including the UK’s biggest indoor LCD – and modern interactive features bring the story to life: where else can you see your face among Manchester’s leading innovators’ on a 26-screen digital sculpture?
Even if you don’t have time to visit the rest of the museum, the gallery provides a great summary of Manchester’s role in the development of the modern world. And its personalised registration system lets you scan barcodes on the exhibits to compile an online information scrapbook, so you can always carry on learning when you get home.