What's on - Museums and archives

Wigan Local Studies closure →

Wigan Local studies will be closed on Saturday 6th August, we apologise for any inconvenience caused. The museum is open as normal and will close at 4pm.

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

The Museum of Wigan Life is free unless otherwise stated.

If you have any event queries, you can contact the museums and archives team

Exhibitions

GerrumonsideGerrumonside! The passion of rugby league past, present and future

Temporary exhibition until 19 November 2022 (Museum of Wigan Life)

Free

Whilst the important and popular displays on Roman Wigan, Egyptology and early local trade will remain on show, this temporary exhibition celebrates Rugby League past and present in the Borough and internationally. Follow our local teams’ trophy-filled histories and learn how Wigan, Leigh and Tyldesley broke away from the Rugby Football Union in 1895 and formed the Northern Union. Learn about the early game, the rise of women in the sport, disability rugby, grass roots rugby, the international game and the all important fans! See original memorabilia never seen before, and more unusual items including the original turnstile from Central Park.

Rebels, Radicals, Reform: The Fight for Better exhibition

Rebels, Radicals, Reform: The Fight for Better

Temporary display
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.

Ancient Egypt

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). It will be redisplayed at the museum from mid-January.

Upcoming events

Leigh Town Hall Tour

Join a member of the archives team for a behind the scenes tour of the historic town hall building. Availability is limited so you must book in advance

Soul Time - Music and chat group

Join Manchester Camerata for Soul Time – a music and chat group for people living well with dementia and their families. Come to the museum for a relaxed and informal session set to music. Covid safe.

  • When?  Every other Monday, 1:30pm - 2.30pm
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan, WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? No need to book, just drop in.

Super League Saturdays - Family craft activities

Join us for fun-filled rugby themed family-friendly craft activities. These monthly activities will include making your own team foam finger, designing your own badge, and learning rugby league facts. There’s also the chance to look around our fantastic new rugby league exhibition and try to solve our exciting trail!

  • When? Every second Saturday of the month unless otherwise stated, 10am-3pm. Please check social media or contact the museum for updates
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan, WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? No need to book, just drop in.

Relaxed Saturdays & Sensory Storytelling

Come explore the history of Wigan borough in a relaxed and welcoming setting. There will be a sensory storytelling session with a local storyteller. Please contact to confirm time.

  • When? 30th July, 27th August and 24th September, 10am-1pm
  • Where? Archives, Wigan and Leigh, Leigh Town Hall
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? No need to book, just drop in.

Craft Activities

Join the archives team in celebrating the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 by creating your own football strip, building a stadium in miniature, and lots more. Drop in to Archives: Wigan and Leigh and have some fun!

  • When?  Throughout the Summer Holidays, Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm
  • Where? Archives: Wigan & Leigh, Leigh Town Hall
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? No need to book, just drop in.

Playful Saturdays

Bring your little explorers along to Playful Saturdays at Leigh Town Hall and discover some of the secrets of the archives!  Build your own wacky invention inspired by the amazing inventors of Leigh, or maybe have a go at adding colour to archive photographs.

  • When? Every Saturday, 10am-1pm and 1:30-4pm
  • Where? Archives Wigan and Leigh, Leigh Town Hall
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? No need to book, just drop in.

Gerrumonside! lunchtime exhibition tours

Fancy something exciting to do during your lunch break? Then look no further! Join us at the museum for our new bi-monthly rugby league exhibition tours.

Our curators will guide you through our local teams’ trophy-filled histories and explain how Wigan, Leigh and Tyldesley broke away from the Rugby Football Union in 1895 and formed the Northern Union. Learn about the early game, the rise of women in the sport, disability rugby, grass roots rugby, the international game and the all-important fans! See original memorabilia never seen before, and more unusual items including the original turnstile from Central Park.

  • When? Starting Wednesday 6th April and then Wednesday 1st June, 3rd August, 5th October, 12 - 12:45pm
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan, WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? Free
  • Do I need to book? Yes booking is essential
  • How do I book? Ring 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk.

Museum of Wigan Life lunchtime building and permanent exhibition tours

Fancy something exciting to do during your lunch break? Then look no further! Join us at the museum for our new bi-monthly building and permanent display tours.

Our curators will guide you through the museum’s permanent displays including Romans, Ancient Egyptians, early trades, and 600 years of protest across Wigan borough. Find out who built our amazing building, it’s past use and explore our fantastic local studies library and all the resources it has to offer.

  • When? Starting Wednesday 4th May and then Wednesday 6th July, 7th September, 2nd November, 12 - 12:45pm
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan. WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? Free
  • Do I need to book? Yes, booking is essential
  • How do I book? Ring 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk.

Summer of Egypt at the Museum of Wigan Life

Grab your magical passport and travel with us to mysterious land of Egypt! Join us each week to have your exclusive Summer of Egypt museum passport stamped, learn all about the Ancient Egyptians and have amazing fun along the way.

The Sports of Ancient Egypt events with Professor Joann Fletcher

Calling all aspiring young Egyptologists! This is an amazing chance to meet Joann, listen to her lecture on sport in Ancient Egypt and to ask her questions! Family friendly and all ages welcome (not suitable for under 11s).

Although the ancient Egyptians are most familiar as the static figures portrayed on the monuments they built, they actively took part in a wide range of sports throughout their 3,000 year history. From running and swimming to ball games and chariot racing, Jo will look at the variety of sports they enjoyed, both as a leisure pursuit and as part of military training. She’ll also look at the sports which played a key part in rituals, from the running tracks of the pyramid-building pharaohs to the multiple Olympic victories achieved by the family of Cleopatra.

  • When? Saturday 6th August, 1.30pm-3pm (talk 1.30pm-2.30pm with time at the end to talk to Joann)
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan. WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? £5 per person, includes refreshments
  • Do I need to book? Yes, booking is essential
  • How do I book? Please ring 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

The Golden Faces of Tutankhamen’s Dynasty by Professor Joann Fletcher

In this centenary year of the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb with its famous death mask and coffins, such spectacular golden burial equipment is by no means unique and was also produced for other members of his dynasty. From the huge gold coffin of the great queen Ahhotep to the burial sets of royal in-laws Yuya and Tuya, Jo will also discuss her own work re-examining Lady Hatnefer and her gilded mask, the burial sets of Kha and Meryt, and the anonymous lady represented by Wigan’s own spectacular gold coffin face.  

  • When? Saturday 6th August, 4pm-5pm
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan. WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? £10 per person, includes glass of wine
  • Do I need to book? Yes, booking is essential
  • How do I book? Please ring 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

The Pharaoh’s Tunic and the Bishop’s Underpants

Whether it is everyday Egyptian’s clothing or gifts for the gods , this talk will use the collections of Bolton Museum, as well as other spectacular examples, such as from the tomb of Tutankhamun, to look at the importance of textiles both in ancient Egyptian belief and in daily life throughout Egyptian history.

Bolton Museum has one of the largest collections of ancient textiles from Egypt and Sudan anywhere in the UK. Ian Trumble is curator at Bolton Museum and is responsible for its 12,000 strong Egyptology collection.

  • When? Thursday 11th August, 12pm-1pm
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan. WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? £2.50 includes tea or coffee
  • Do I need to book? Yes, booking is essential
  • How do I book? Please ring 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

First stop on our Summer of Egypt grand tour - The Book of the Dead

Accompany us on the journey the Ancient Egyptians took to reach the eternal afterlife and take part in our hands-on activity in the Hall of Judgement. Then make your own Nile crocodile and magical serpent!

  • When? Friday 12th August, 10am-2pm
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan. WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? No, just drop in

Gilded Flesh: The Use of Gold in Egyptian Funerary Art by Dr Campbell Price

Gold is synonymous with the idea of 'Ancient Egypt' but its role in expectations of the afterlife, and its power to effect the status of divinity, is little-understood. This lecture reviews the evidence from the Pharaonic period and afterwards for the ritual role of precious metal in transforming the deceased into a deity. 

Dr Campbell Price studied Egyptology at the University of Liverpool and has been Curator of Egypt and Sudan at Manchester Museum since 2011. He is currently the Chair of Trustees at the Egypt Exploration Society, the UK's foremost charity supporting Egypt's cultural heritage. The international touring exhibition 'Golden Mummies of Egypt', which Campbell curated, opens in February 2023.

Second stop on our Summer of Egypt grand tour - Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs

Learn some awesome facts about the magical Pharaohs and how the Ancient Egyptians lived over 3000 years ago. You can then make your own ancient Egyptian headdress and jewelled collar.

  • When? Friday 19th August, 10am-2pm
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan. WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? No, just drop in

Final destination on our Summer of Egypt grand tour – Wigan’s Gold Mask, Hieroglyphics and more!

Discover all about Wigan’s awesome Ancient Egypt collection and how we came to have it in the museum. Learn how to write your name in hieroglyphics and make your very own gold mask.

  • When? Friday 26th August, 10am-2pm
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan. WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? No, just drop in

Placard and badge making workshop

Come and join us to make a hopeful protest placard to form part of the Diggers parade through Wigan on 10th September 2022. Workshops are free and children under 10 years to be accompanied by an adult. Adults are also welcome to get involved and join the fun.

  • When?  Wednesday 31st August 2022
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan, WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? Yes, booking essential
  • How do I book? Please ring 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Placard making workshop

Hope is power! Have your voice heard! Come and join Redfolio artists and make a hopeful protest placard to form part of the Diggers parade through Wigan on 10th September 2022. Workshops are free and children under 10 years to be accompanied by an adult. Adults are also welcome to get involved and join the fun.

  • When?  Saturday 3rd September 2022
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan, WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? Yes, booking essential
  • How do I book? Please ring 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Heritage Open Days – Leigh Town Hall Tours

The annual Heritage Open Days will be returning in September.  Leigh Town Hall will be opening its doors to the public and inviting you to Archives: Wigan & Leigh for a behind the scenes tour of the historic town hall building.

Cotton Town Chronicles by Peter and Barbara Snape

Cotton Town Chronicles is a folk song based presentation that provides an interesting overview of working life during the age when cotton and coal were king. It is a journey in which key moments of social history provide the context for the song to take centre stage. Each song tells a story; it’s grease and grime, mills, mines and machinery, poverty, struggle, love, humanity and the ability to look on the bright side of life.

  • When? Thursday 22nd September, 12-1pm
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan. WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? £2.50, includes tea or coffee
  • Do I need to book? Yes, booking is essential
  • How do I book? Ring 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

A Grave Affair by Charlie Guy

From booby-trapped coffins and body-snatchers to post-mortem photography and funeral souvenirs, the long-19th-century's obsession with death was all-encompassing; spawning an era of now-forgotten death-etiquette, creepy funerary practices, traditions, and superstitions designed to keep the departed firmly within their realm. But the battle to appease the dead often caused war among the living.

Join us to explore the fascinating world of the Victorian dead brought back to life, the superstitions that buried them, and the anatomists who brought them back up.

  • When? Tuesday 4th October, 12-1pm
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan. WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? £2.50, includes tea or coffee
  • Do I need to book? Yes, booking is essential
  • How do I book? Ring 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Meet the Rugby League Photographer with Frank Orrell

In celebration of the Rugby League World Cup, join Frank Orrell, former photographer for the Wigan Evening Post, Wigan Observer, the Reporter group, and Rugby League newspaper for this fascinating illustrated event as he talks about his time spent photographing rugby league. The talk will be accompanied by a slideshow of photographs of Wigan Rugby League Club from the 1960s up to 2009, as well as local amateur and grassroots rugby.

  • When? Saturday 12th November, 12-1pm
  • Where? Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan. WN1 1NU
  • What is the cost? £2.50, includes tea or coffee
  • Do I need to book? Yes, booking is essential
  • How do I book? Ring 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

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.

© Wigan Council