Volunteer Guides

Manchester Art Gallery and the Committee of The Friends have developed a very successful Volunteer Gallery Guides scheme, offering tours every weekend to enrich visitors’ experience of the gallery.

Volunteer guide showing adult group around the galleryThe tours last approximately one hour and show the highlights of the Manchester Art Gallery’s rich collection of paintings and decorative arts. In addition, guides deliver “Discovery” tours which run once a month and give visitors a greater insight into specific areas of the collection.

The current team of volunteer guides are of all ages and from all walks of life - some of them have been involved for many years.

Margaret Mackie, who attended her first guided tour around the gallery in 1991, decided to become a guide, as she had had so many enjoyable Friends’ trips in this country and abroad and wanted to give something back to the gallery and the Friends. Margaret really enjoys taking people around the gallery and finds that, even after all these years, there is always something new to learn!

Volunteer guide showing group round galleryJudy Marsden joined the Guides team in 2002 when the gallery re-opened:

“I love the collection of works at Manchester Art Gallery and wanted to hopefully enrich other people’s experience of them by providing guided tours.

Being a guide has greatly increased my own knowledge and enjoyment in regard to the visual arts.  I have enjoyed the friendship and exchange of information within the team of volunteers, who share my interest in art and guiding”.

Vounteer guide showing group around galleryThe Volunteer Gallery Guides Scheme is co-ordinated by Meg Parnell, Lifelong Learning Manager at the gallery and Isabelle Killicoat, Friends’ Co-ordinator. There are training sessions at the gallery throughout the year for the guides as well as informal meetings, visits to other galleries and social events.

New guides receive lots of help including written information on the collection, a mentor to help them become familiar with the gallery and the opportunity to shadow other guides before taking their first solo tour. After the training period, guides are expected to commit to at least six tours per year.

Guiding is ideal for those who enjoy meeting people, presenting information with enthusiasm and flair and a commitment to researching the collection and developing their knowledge.

Due to the success of the scheme, there is currently a waiting list but if you are interested and would like further information, please contact us or call:

Meg Parnell
Lifelong Learning Manager

Tel: 0161 235 8855

Book a guided tour

Volunteer tour guide with adult group in the Victorian gallery
Choose from a range of guided tours, organised specially for your group.