What's on - Museums and archives

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 keep checking the website for updates on when we can re-open.

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

On this page you will find details of museums and archives exhibitions and events.

The Museum of Wigan Life is free unless otherwise stated.

Upcoming events

Art in the Archives

Join us here in Leigh Town Hall for 6 free fantastic Art in the Archives sessions. Anna and Klaire will spend each week delivering a lecture about the life and work of artists connected to Wigan Borough with research from the archives. The classes are combined with practical art activities inspired by the lectures for you to take part in. By the end of each class, you will have new found knowledge on the work and life of a fabulous artist. You will also be equipped with new techniques to improve your own art and to embed your understanding of the artist. The classes welcome all abilities, see below for the dates they are running;

  • 27th July, Joseph Farrington, 6:30pm - 8pm
  • 3rd August, Mary Pownall, 6:30pm - 8pm
  • 10th August, James Lawrence Isherwood, 6:30pm - 8pm
  • 17th August, Tadek Beutlich, 6:30pm - 8pm
  • 24th August, Rodger Hampson, 6:30pm - 8pm
  • 31st August, William Mitchell, 6:30pm - 8pm.

Building Memories

Come and meet members of the ‘MemorabLEIGH’ group and local historian, Julie McKiernan, as they present and share the ‘Building Memories’ project.

This immersive audio trail of significant buildings and locations in the Leigh area will be of interest to the general public and heritage volunteers.

National Play Day, Leigh

We would love to invite you to book tickets for our free family sessions here at Archives; Wigan & Leigh. As part of your ticket, you'll get 45 minutes in our museum space, with our interactive exhibit and games. Followed by 45 minutes in our education room, where you can handle Archive documents, do some crafts or play some games with us.

Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Due to COVID restrictions please book a ticket for each member of your party.

Fun and Games in the Archives

Did you play marbles at school? How about Nine Men's Morris or Hopscotch? We'll be hosting a games day at Archives: Wigan and Leigh where you can share your memories of playground games and maybe have a go at beating the top score on the Archives Arcade! Or just enjoy the new exhibition and get hands on with some of the games we have in our collection.

Really Rubbish Weaving with Liz Chapman

Create a fun, colourful and “rubbish” hanging piece of art whilst exploring amazing archive materials relating to textiles and banners in local protest movements through time, ’found’ and unearthed objects and local textiles production.

Join artist Liz Chapman to create small scale woven hangings. Turn waste products such as packaging, plastic bags, scraps of fabric and threads into a treasured piece of art work. The weavings are made using simple DIY cardboard looms and plastic waste.

For adults keen to make art work whilst learning about our past and being mindful of the environment and waste.

Wigan's Railways and a 19th Century Stationmaster by Marianne Howell

Peter Peters – a life given to the London and North Western Railway.  This illustrated talk sketches the development of the railways in Wigan but focus more particularly on one stationmaster at Wigan North Western station whose working life was spent on the railways and who met an untimely death because of it. Queen Victoria’s royal train, played a tragic part in the story of Wigan Stationmaster Peter Peters.

Rebels, Radicals, Reform: The Fight for Better exhibition


Rebels, Radicals, Reform: The Fight for Better

Temporary exhibition
Price: Free

The freedom to protest has been a way for people to get their voices heard throughout history. The reasons for protests have been varied, but whatever the reason, it has been the catalyst needed for the growth of freedom and change.

From the Jacobites, Diggers and Peterloo, to the miners strike and recent movements about the environment and racial equality, this exhibition brings to life the many causes the people of our proud borough have campaigned and fought for over the past 600 years, ultimately making it the amazing place it is today.

It features fascinating items from our own collection such as Colonel Eckersley’s sword and scabbard presented to him for his assistance in the Peterloo Riots (1819) and some of our fine collection of political posters, as well as the fabulous The Dinner Hour, Wigan (1874) painted by Eyre Crowe and on loan from Manchester Museum.

Ancient Egypt - as seen on BBC TV

Permanent display
Price: Free

Our popular Ancient Egypt Rediscovered exhibition is now on permanent display.

Get up close and personal with ancient coffins and grave goods. This amazing collection covers over 3000 years of Egyptian history.

Our spectacular gold mask is currently on display at The Fire Within exhibition at The Galleries, Wigan. For opening times, please visit The Fire Within website (external link).

Archives: Wigan and Leigh Exhibition in Leigh Town Hall

Visit the new exhibition in Leigh Town Hall exploring local history. Booking in advance is required due to Covid restrictions, multiple dates and times are available Tuesday to Saturday each week.


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