What's on - Museums and archives

Details of museums and archives exhibitions and events.

Museum of Wigan Life are free unless otherwise stated.

Exhibitions and events

Ancient Egypt - as seen on BBC TV

Ancient Egyptian maskPermanent display
Price: Free

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

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

Cotton Town Chronicles by Peter and Barbara Snape 

Date: Thursday 14th May
Time: 1pm – 2pm
Price: £3 including tea and coffee

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.

Booking is essential - places are limited so please book by phoning 01942 828128 or emailing wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Protest Under the Pharaohs

Date: Friday 5th June 2020
Time: 1pm - 2pm
Price: £3 including tea and coffee

Ancient Egypt saw the first recorded strike in human history, and there is plentiful evidence for ordinary people reacting against centralised rule of the Pharaohs.

This lecture explores some of the alternatives to the image of the powerful Pharaonic state.

Come along to this illustrated talk by Dr Campbell Price

Booking is essential - Places are limited so please book by calling 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

125 Years of Rugby League in Leigh and Wigan - Talk by Mike Lathom

Date: Thursday 6th August
Time: 1pm – 2pm
Price: £3 including tea and coffee

Calling all Rugby League fans! In this special anniversary year, join us for an audience with sports journalist and Leigh Centurions chairman Mike Latham as he looks back on the highs and lows of what many people in the Borough regard as the Greatest Game of all.

Whatever side you favour, this talk has specific reference to both Leigh Centurions and Wigan Warriors. Not to be missed! Come along and enjoy this popular illustrated talk on a well-loved sport!

Booking is essential - Places are limited so please book by calling 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Wigan Pier – The way we were and what we became! - Talk by Jim Holian

Date:Thursday 3rd September
Time: 1pm – 2pm
Price: £3 including tea and coffee

This illustrated presentation by Jim Holian will explore how the Wigan Pier canal basin developed and why. It will examine years of decline in the 1970s before exploring how the site went on to become a world famous and well-loved tourist and heritage attraction in the 1980s. The talk will also include Wigan’s three C’s - coal, cotton and canals, as well as a look at the social conditions of this nineteenth century industrial town.

Booking is essential - Places are limited so please book by calling 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Theo Major Walking on Fire - Talk by Michael Howard

Date:Thursday 1st October
Time: 1pm – 2pm
Price: £3 including tea and coffee

Theo was an extraordinary man and an extraordinary artist. He was born in Wigan in 1908 and he spent his early life in the town before moving to Appley Bridge in 1950 where he lived and painted until his death in 1999. He based his own life and art on that of William Blake and Van Gogh, though his work is uniquely his own. He painted because he loved people and loved life. L.S. Lowry believed Theo to be a better painter than himself and Theo agreed. Unlike Lowry, Theo refused to commit himself to a London-based gallery, determined to remain true to his northern roots and so he never attained the fame that he so richly deserved.

Share with us this opportunity to be part of the rediscovery of the artist Theodore (Theo) Major - perhaps Britain’s last great forgotten painter. Michael is the author of L.S. Lowry, A Visionary Artist and is writing a 2-volume study of Theo Major due to be published later this year.

Booking is essential - Places are limited so please book by calling 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Skeleton School

Date: Saturday 31st October 2020
Time: 1pm - 2pm
Price: £3 including tea and coffee

From booby-trapped coffins and body-snatchers, to post-mortem photography and funeral souvenirs, the Victorian 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 on Halloween and 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. With reference to the Edinburgh Seven and the Surgeon's Hall Riot of 1870.

Come along to this popular illustrated talk by Charlie Guy MA.

Booking is essential - Places are limited so please book by phoning 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Coalopolis,Wigan’s Mining Heritage - Talk by Alan Davies

Date: Thursday 5th November
Time: 1pm – 2pm
Price: £3 including tea/coffee

Since the earliest days of coal mining in Britain, Wigan has been the pre-eminent town associated with the industry.

The Romans based in the town centre accessed coal possibly locally and specifically at Arley. The world-famous Cannel mines at Haigh had been worked since the 14th century. Their equally famous drainage tunnel dated back to the 17th century. Artisans carving Haigh Cannel coal drew nationwide attention from the 17th century onwards.

The foremost mining engineers, geologists and mineral surveyors along with legal professions associated with the industry and coal owners when private could be found in King Street. The first purely coal mining college in Britain was set up in Library Street in the 1850’s, to be staffed by the most eminent mining minds in Britain. It was during this period the term Coalopolis came into use.Mining ended in the borough in the 1990’s but it’s legacy will always remain, along with the memory of the hundreds of men women and children who died working coal.

A statue group recalling this (scheduled late March 2020) will be a permanent feature of the town centre.

Booking is essential - Places are limited so please book by phoning 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk.

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