What's on - Museums and archives

Museum of Wigan Life closure

The Museum of Wigan Life is temporarily closed. Please keep checking the website for updates on when we can re-open.

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

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.

  • When? 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

When Harry met Roy: Wigan, race & rugby league in the 1930s by Tony Collins

Join renowned historian Tony Collins for a story of inclusion, discrimination, and achievement against the odds, uniquely made possible by the sport of rugby league. Tony will explore how Wigan became home to black rugby players in the 1930s such as George Bennett and Roy Francis. Bennett became the first black player to play for Wales in either rugby code and Francis would become the first black player to represent Great Britain. He will investigate how they came to Wigan, examine their outstanding careers, and shed new light on why Wigan manager Harry Sunderland unexpectedly sold Roy Francis to Barrow in 1939.

Half Term Treasure Hunt

Have you got what it takes to crack the Archives code and win a prize? Drop in to the archives for some family fun and try to outwit our puzzle masters? Drop in to Leigh Town Hall and visit our family friendly exhibition.

  • When? 26th - 30th October, 10am - 4pm
  • Where? Leigh Town Hall

Lego Landscapes Half Term Drop in

Create your own amazing Leigh landmarks, explore the archives collection and let your imagination run wild! No advance booking necessary, just drop in to Leigh Town Hall.

  • When? Wednesday 27th October, 10am - 3:30pm
  • Where? Leigh Town Hall

Family friendly Halloween quiz

Spooky things are happening online with the Museum of Wigan Life's FREE family Halloween quiz. Suitable for families and children aged 4-7 but older children are more than welcome to join in the spooky fun. We will be wearing fancy dress and would love to see your costumes!

Either Side of the Veil: Communication Through Commemoration by Charlie Guy

For several years Charlie has written and presented annual historical talks for the Museum of Wigan Life, focusing on Victorian death practices, traditions, and superstitions. In this talk Charlie will look at how the evolution of the funeral runs concurrent to contemporary concerns of how best to deal with a corpse and how, for whatever reason, these concerns have been altered throughout the course of time - and how the belief in communication with the dead reached its peak in the Victorian era.

Kathleen Mary Drew Baker: From Leigh to Nori

Wigan & Leigh are joined by Dr. Julie Phillips, who will be delivering a talk on the work of locally born, and internationally renowned scientist Kathleen Drew. Born in Leigh in 1901, raised and schooled in Salisbury in Wiltshire and, in the 1920s, awarded science degrees from the University of Manchester, Kathleen Mary Drew, was an imminent scientist of the 20th century who deeply believed in equal rights for women.

A Date to Remember

Join us for our third Heritage & Mindfulness session in leigh Town Hall. This time we will be celebrating the local women of Wigan and Leigh. We'll hear stories of women who changed the local landscape and be inspired to create our own change.

Stitch in time: Sustainable art sessions

For November we will be celebrating Wigan & Leigh's rich history of weaving and spinning. Using pre loved materials you can create your own piece of weaved artwork.

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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