What's on - Museums and archives

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 & 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

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

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.

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 8281288 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 8281288 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk.

Carers Week - free talk and museum tour

In appreciation for everything carers do and to highlight the vital role carers play in our communities, join us for a free event at the Museum of Wigan Life on Monday 6th June, 10-12pm. The event will include an informal talk by ex-rugby league player Joe Collins, a guided curator tour of the museum’s wonderful gerrumoside! rugby league exhibition, permanent displays and its historic building. Refreshments will be provided.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don't think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.

Discovering Coccium: The Archaeology of Roman Wigan by Ian Miller

Chance finds of Roman artefacts were discovered in various locations across Wigan town centre during the 19th century, but the first archaeological evidence for Roman settlement in Wigan was not uncovered until the 1980s when the Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit carried out excavations at The Wiend. Some 20 years later, excavations along Millgate by Oxford Archaeology North revealed the remarkable remains of a Roman bath house, adding considerable weight to the suggestion that Wigan did indeed originate as Coccium. This illustrated talk by an archaeologist who worked on the project, draws the key results from these excavations to present the current understanding of Wigan’s fascinating Roman past.

  • When? Thursday 21st July, 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

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

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