What's on - Museums and archives

Museum of Wigan Life is now open

The Museum of Wigan Life is now open with a new exhibition; gerrumonside! The passion of rugby league past, present and future.

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


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

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


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 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.

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

Shared reading sessions

Shared reading groups are open to all and free to attend. A group of people, one of them a trained Reader Leader, reads a great novel, short story or poem aloud. We stop and talk about what we have read. There is no need for group members to read aloud or speak - it’s fine to just listen. The idea is to create a space where people feel at ease.

  • Every Thursday at 2pm in Leigh Town Hall - No booking required.

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

Mindful Mondays

Banish the winter blues whilst learning more about the rare books collection in the Archives. These free sessions are designed to be warm and friendly. All training, tea, coffee and cake will be provided. Booking is essential. Meet outside the entrance to Leigh Town Hall. Accessible event.

Super League Saturdays – Family activities

Join us for fun-filled rugby themed family-friendly craft activities. These monthly activities will include making your own team flag, 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, 11am-3pm
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? No need to book, just drop in.

Activities will take place on the second Saturday of the month throughout the duration of the rugby league exhibition starting Saturday 15th January 2022 until November 2022.

Chinese New Year celebrations

Come to the museum for a full day of vibrant spectacle, colour, and activities to celebrate Chinese New Year. There will be martial art display, lion dancers, traditional Chinese crafts, tea ceremony, calligraphy, music, dancing, and more! Watch the fabulous Chinese dancers at Market Place in the town centre at 11.30am before a special finale at the museum. With support from St Mary’s Confucius Classroom.

  • When? Saturday 5th February, 11am-3pm
  • What is the cost? Free event
  • Do I need to book? No booking required, just drop in.

Exchanging the Pick for the Pen: John Monk Foster

This talk examines the career of John Monk Foster (1857-1930), a Wigan miner turned novelist.

Although now largely forgotten, in the 1890s Monk Foster was a popular writer of newspaper serial fiction and his novels of life in the mines, mills and ironworks were widely published in the UK and beyond. Monk Foster described his tales as "romances of industry" and this talk will explore one of his best known novels, A Pit-Brow Lassie, as an example of an industrial romance. In particular, the talk will look at the ways in which Monk Foster combined realistic depictions of work with the conventions of the romantic novel. Then, as now, the life of a freelance writer could be precarious and the talk will also explore what happened to Monk Foster as popular tastes changed.

Chinese New Year half term activities

Half term is packed full of family fun with our traditional Chinese craft and costume. Try your hand at activities including lantern making, calligraphy and paper cutting. With support from St Mary’s Confucius Classroom.

  • When? Tuesday 22nd February and Thursday 24th February, 12pm-2pm
  • What is the cost? Free
  • Do I need to book? No booking required, just drop in.

Please contact the museum for more information wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk or ring 01942 828128.

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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