We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

The island warehouse exhibition

The Island Warehouse is the main exhibition space at the National Waterways Museum, housing two vast floors of displays and hands-on activities.

A young girl playing with an engine in the National Waterways Museum National Waterways Museum

The Island Warehouse was built in 1871 as a store for grain. Walk aross the floating pontoon bridge today to find our two largest display areas.

On the ground floor you will find displays about the history of boat and canal building. Alongside historic boats and re-creations of workshops there are ingenious hands-on displays and touch-screen interactives. Watch archive film of the spectacular launch of a narrow boat, find out how canal 'ice breakers' worked and see rich displays on the crafts and skills of boat makers.

Upstairs, find out what it would have been like to work on the canal as a boat or dock worker in our exhibition Life on the Cut. Plus a special display on the history of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Look out for...

Boats of all shapes and sizes from a coracle to a canoe and from a gleaming leisure cruiser to the beautiful narrow boat Friendship.

Our soft-play area upstairs where younger children can have a go at building their own narrow boat.

Last date edited: 29 July 2015