Visiting the Museum of Wigan Life

Museum of Wigan Life closure

Due to recent government guidance around Covid-19, and to keep our staff and visitors safe, we regret that the Museum of Wigan Life is temporarily closed. Please check the website for updates when we will re-open again.

Stay safe and we look forward to welcoming you again soon.

The exterior building of the Museum of Wigan Life

Discover the people and places of Wigan Borough both past and present at the Museum of Wigan Life.

We have lively displays on everything from sport and world war to music and festivals in Wigan, Leigh and across the borough.

  • Do you know the tale of Mab’s Cross?
  • Who is our most famous ukulele player?
  • And why is Wigan so famous for pies?

You’ll find all the answers and more in our main gallery.

Our special exhibitions explore aspects of local history from Northern Soul to the mysterious sport of clog fighting.

Opening times

  • Monday - Wednesday, Sunday: Closed
  • Thursday - Saturday: 10am - 4pm

How to get here

Museum of Wigan Life
Library Street

The museum is at the end of Library Street, five minutes walk from Wigan town centre and 10 minutes walk from Wigan Wallgate and Wigan Northern Western train stations and Wigan bus station.

There is very limited parking outside the museum but there is a multi-storey at the Grand Arcade shopping centre.

Get in touch


Stack of tins of Uncle Joe's mint balls on a shelf

About the museum

Following a £1.9 million Heritage Lottery Fund refurbishment, the award-winning Museum of Wigan Life (formerly The History Shop) opened to the public, offering a fantastic opportunity for learning and discovery.

The Museum of Wigan Life is housed in Wigan’s first public library and first public building with electric lighting. Alfred Waterhouse designed the building, which opened in 1878 and also designed the Natural History Museum in London and Manchester town hall. In 1936 George Orwell researched his book 'The Road to Wigan Pier' in the Reference Library (now Family History and Local Studies) upstairs.

You can delve into your own family history and local area in our dedicated department upstairs at the museum. Our friendly staff are always on hand to help and advise.

Family friendly

The museum especially welcomes families.

  • Trails for children age 7-11 are available on reception
  • Special exhibition has children’s activities
  • There is a baby changing facility on the ground floor in the accessible toilet.


  • The museum is fully accessible to wheelchair users with an accessible toilet, lift and lowered counter section on reception.
  • There is accessible parking at the top of library street.
  • Guide and assistance dogs are welcome at the museum.
  • A hearing loop system is available in the main galleries and around the reception in Local and Family History on the first floor. Please contact us in advance for the portable hearing loop.
  • There is magnifying software on some computers in our Family History and Local Studies department.
  • Magnifiers, large print and braille information may be available on request, please ask at reception.

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© Wigan Council