Museum of Wigan Life

Museum of Wigan Life
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Following a £1.9 million Heritage Lottery Fund refurbishment, the award-winning Museum of Wigan Life (formerly The History Shop) opened to the public, offering a fantastic opportunity for learning and discovery.

The Museum of Wigan Life is housed in Wigan’s first public library and first public building with electric lighting. Alfred Waterhouse designed the building, which opened in 1878. He also designed the Natural History Museum in London and Manchester Town Hall. In 1936 George Orwell researched his book 'The Road to Wigan Pier' in the Reference Library (now Family History and Local Studies) upstairs.

Discover the people and places of Wigan borough, past and present at the Museum of Wigan Life. Lively displays on everything from sport to world war and from music to festivals in Wigan, Leigh and across the borough.

Do you know the tale of Mab’s Cross?
Who is our most famous ukulele player?
And why is Wigan so famous for pies?

You’ll find all the answers and more in our main gallery. Our special exhibitions explore aspects of local history from rugby league to the mysterious sport of clog fighting.

The museum especially welcomes families. Trails for children age 7-11 are available on reception, and the special exhibition has children’s activities. We host a varied and exciting programme of events for adults and families. Please visit our website to find out what is in store! www.wlct.org/wigan/museums-archives

The Museum of Wigan Life Shop offers a huge range of products from miners lamps to the popular ‘I Love Wigan Pie’ range – now featuring handcrafted mugs and teaspoon rests. Try our specialist maps for the family historian or chose a bag of Uncle Joe's Mint Balls to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Venue Type:

Museum, Archive

Opening hours

Monday 9:00 - 2:00
Tuesday 9:00 - 2:00
Wednesday 9:00 - 2:00
Thursday 12.00 - 17.00
Friday 12.00 - 17.00
Saturday 9:00 - 2:00
Sunday Closed

Closed: Sundays
Bank Holidays

Admission charges

Free

Getting there

The museum is at the end of Library Street, five minutes walk from Wigan town centre and 10 minutes walk from Wigan Wallgate and Wigan Northern Western train stations and Wigan bus station. There is very limited parking outside the museum but there is a multi-storey at the Grand Arcade shopping centre.

Collection details

Archaeology, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Industry, Music, Natural Sciences, Photography, Science and Technology, Social History

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Chinese Celebrations - FREE February Half - Term Activities

  • 20 February 2018 12:30-2pm
  • 22 February 2018 12:30-2pm

Half term is packed full of family fun with our traditional Chinese craft and costume. Try your hand at painting, calligraphy and paper cutting, and then get dressed up in traditional Chinese clothes.

FREE drop-in sessions – no booking required.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

FREE - Drop in Sessions - no booking required

Chinese New Year

  • 24 February 2018 10am-2pm

Join us for an extravaganza of FREE family fun as we celebrate Chinese New Year with music, dancing, costume and craft. Watch the fabulous Chinese dancers throughout the town centre before a special finale at the museum.


10am - 2pm Free family activities at the Museum
11am - Martial Arts Performance at the Grand Arcade
12pm - Lion Dance at the Market Place
1pm - Lion Dance and performance at the Museum of Wigan Life

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

FREE – no booking required.

WOMEN IN WWl - Talk by Marianne Howell

  • 8 March 2018 12:30-1:30pm

“The situation is serious – women must help to save it”
At least one million women were added to the workforce during the war, and were employed in every industry, particularly in munitions, work on the land and nursing, although their wages were universally much less than the men received. They also volunteered in vast numbers, beginning on the day war was declared, and nearly 18,000 charities were formed in the war. This talk deals with all aspects of the lives of women, using national and local illustrations, and looks at how the war affected their lives afterwards.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£2.50 includes Tea/Coffee
Booking essential, please telephone (01942) 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk to book your place.

The Invention of Childhood - Talk by Dianne Teskey

  • 26 April 2018 1-2pm

Do you remember the doll’s house in Wigan Market Hall?
Have you still got your teddy bear?
What was childhood like for Victorian children, did the Victorians really invent childhood.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£2.50 includes Tea/Coffee

Children in the Mine - talk by Alan Davis

  • 17 May 2018 12:30-1:30pm

The 1842 Children's Employment Commission (Mines). Shocking verbatim evidence mainly from men women and children working in the Lancashire coal industry, leading to the Coal Mines Act 1842

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 14-15
  • 18+

Admission

£2.50 includes Tea/Coffee
Booking essential, please telephone (01942) 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk to book your place.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers - Talk by Charlie Guy ME

  • 28 June 2018 1-2pm

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. – Isaiah 26:19.

The treatment of the dead throughout history has undergone an evolution spanning social, economic and religious domains – the historical treatment of the body runs concurrent to contemporary concerns of how best to deal with a corpse. The Biblical concept of sleep as a metaphor for death is a common theme within both the old and new testaments and throughout the 19th century to rest in peace was essential for the spiritual wellbeing of the deceased. So, when it came to scientific research, dissection was the Christian equivalent of arriving to a party wearing the wrong trainers - nobody was going to get into Heaven in 4 parts. Prior to the Anatomy Act of 1832, under the Murder Act only the bodies of executed murderers were allowed to be dissected and anatomised by the medical schools. It was therefore necessary for the 10 or so universities in Britain offering medicine as a vocation to resort to other methods of supply to meet demand – the services of the Resurrection Man. The lure of the financial reward was enough for men to risk not only their morality but also their lives.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£2.50 includes Tea/Coffee

Dead and Buried: The Wants and Worries of the 19th Century Deceased - Talk by Charlie Guy MA

  • 31 October 2018 12-1pm

Join us on Halloween to dispel the dark myths of the Victorian dead and shine a light on some of the forgotten, outdated and downright creepy funerary practices, traditions and superstitions of the age. From booby-trapped coffins and body-snatchers to photography and funeral souvenirs, come and explore the fascinating world of the Victorian dead brought back to life.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£2.50 includes Tea/Coffee
Booking essential, please telephone (01942) 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk to book your place.

Getting there

The museum is at the end of Library Street, five minutes walk from Wigan town centre and 10 minutes walk from Wigan Wallgate and Wigan Northern Western train stations and Wigan bus station. There is very limited parking outside the museum but there is a multi-storey at the Grand Arcade shopping centre.

Museum of Wigan Life
Library Street
Wigan
Greater Manchester
WN1 1NU
England

Website

E-mail

wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Telephone

01942 828128

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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