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.

Dead and Buried - Talk by Charlie Guy MA

  • 31 October 2019 1:30-2:30pm

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.'

Come along to this popular illustrated talk by Charlie Guy MA

Museum of Wigan Life, £3.00 including tea/coffee

Places are limited so please book by phoning 01942 828128 or emailing wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£3.00 including tea/coffee

Ballads and songs of Peterloo, with Dr Alison Morgan

  • 18 July 2019 12:30-1:30pm

Ballads and Songs of Peterloo by Dr Alison Morgan is based on her unique collection of more than seventy poems and ballads which highlight the outrage, grief, defiance and resolution felt by labouring-class people in the immediate aftermath of the Peterloo Massacre in which eighteen people were killed and more than 600 injured as they listened to the radical Henry Hunt speak on the need for electoral reform. Alison’s talk focuses on a selection of these poems and songs which were circulated in radical journals and performed at markets and in taverns, highlighting how they aimed to keep a true record of the day in the public consciousness and counter the official government narrative. The talk will be illustrated by audio recordings from musicians who have worked with Alison to bring these important and entertaining songs to life once more.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

FREE booking essential

Leigh and Wigan’s Female Reform Unions and Peterloo talk by Yvonne Eckersley

  • 16 August 2019 12:30-1:30pm

On 16th August 1819, 60,000 men, women and children from the Manchester area walked to St Peter’s Field in support of political reform. Within half an hour at least fifteen people sustained fatal injuries and many more were bludgeoned, maimed or crushed by horses. Join Yvonne on the 200th anniversary of the massacre to hear the story of how Wigan and Leigh radicals protested in the narrow streets of Leigh as well as the wide open space of Amberswood Common.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£3.00 including tea/coffee

From Cotton Bales to Canopic Jars

  • 19 September 2019 12:30-1:30pm

150 years ago, a young girl dreamed of visiting the land of the pharaohs. 20 years later she sailed the Nile, rode a donkey across the desert, and dined in the sun with Sheikhs.

Annie Barlow, daughter of one of Greater Manchester’s largest textile magnates, devoted part of her life to preserving Egypt’s ancient heritage. This story tells how her passion built up one of the country’s best collections of over 10,000 Egyptian artefacts.

Museum of Wigan Life, £3.00 including tea/coffee

Places are limited so please book by phoning 01942 828128 or emailing wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£3.00 including tea/coffee

A Concise History Of Coal Mining

  • 14 November 2019 12:30-1:30pm

A Concise History Of Coal Mining – From the formation of coal 300 million years ago to the recent end of deep mining.
With reference to the industry nationally, from the use of coal around 1450BC in South Wales, but as much as possible focusing on the Lancashire Coalfield, first documented in 1294. Illustrated throughout plus rare film records.

Come along to this illustrated talk by Alan Davies

Museum of Wigan Life, £3.00 including tea/coffee


Places are limited so please book by phoning 01942 828128 or emailing wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+
  • 14-15

Admission

£3.00 including tea/coffee

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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