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.

Animal Mummies Uncovered

animals-uncoveredOpens: Saturday 29th April 2017 - January 2018
Price: Free exhibition

A fascinating, myth-busting new exhibition looking at Ancient Egyptian animal mummies which were prepared in their millions as votive offerings to the gods. This nationally touring exhibition features mummified animal specimens such as jackals, crocodiles, cats and birds. Explore the recreated subterranean catacomb and discover more about the Ancient Egyptians. Then try the latest science to learn more about the subject! On tour from Manchester Museum.

Family History and the First World War

Museum of Wigan Life
Thursday 27th April (sold out)
Thursday 25th May (new date added)
Thursday 8th June (sold out)
2.30pm – 4pm
Price: £2.50 per person booking required

What did your family do in the war? If you have an ancestor involved in the First World War and want to find out more, this is the workshop for you. We will look at how to search military records online including Wigan Borough Online War Memorial. Tea/coffee not provided.

Egypt's Valleys of the Kings and Queens
with Prof Joann Fletcher and Dr Stephen Buckley

Museum of Wigan Life
Wednesday 3rd May 2017
3pm – 4.30pm doors/drinks open from 2.15pm
8pm – 9.30pm doors/drinks open from 7.15pm
Price: £10.00 per person (incl. glass of wine) booking required

Join Prof Joann Fletcher and Dr Stephen Buckley for a special lecture about the famous Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. Prof Fletcher of the University of York is author of numerous books and her TV appearances include BBC 2’s 'Ancient Egypt: Life and Death in the Valley of the Kings’, ‘Immortal Egypt with Joann Fletcher’ and ‘Egypt’s Lost Queens‘. Dr. Buckley, Research Fellow at the Universities of York and Tubingen, uses science to reveal new insights into mummification and Ancient History. His work includes the BAFTA-winning 'Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret'. Guests receive a welcome drink on arrival with a chance to look at the displays before the lecture about the tombs and mummies of some of Ancient Egypt’s most famous kings and queens studied by Stephen and Joann. The event will be followed by a Q & A session. This is a unique opportunity and tickets will sell out fast so book your space soon by calling (01942) 828128 or contact us.

Victorian Medicine
by Charlie Guy


Museum of Wigan Life
Monday 8th May
12 noon – 1pm
Price: £2.50 per person (incl. tea/coffee) booking required

Victorian medicine could be a combination of quackery, pseudoscience and luck. Medicines ranged from mercury, arsenic and phosphorous to leeches and laxatives. Find out about the use of electricity and class A drugs on the ill and beliefs about the women and sex. Discover how approaches to care were defined by a patient’s social class, gender and race. Don’t miss this intriguing look into the medical quirks and progress of the Victorian Age.

Museums at Night

Museum at Night

Museum of Wigan Life
Friday 19th May
7pm – 10.30pm
Price: £3.00 per person (no booking required)

After dark the museum comes alive with new art, music and performance. Forget what you know about museums and see culture in a new light. Visit for a drink, explore the quirky corners and discover newly commissioned artworks, live music and soundscapes.

Egyptian Animal Mummies
by Dr Campbell Price


Museum of Wigan Life
Tuesday 23rd May
12noon - 1pm
Price: £2.50 per person (incl. tea/coffee) booking required

The Ancient Egyptians prepared millions of animal mummies including cats, crocodiles, birds and jackals, as offerings for the Gods. Dr Campbell from Manchester Museum explains how new scientific techniques are revealing more about this ancient religious practise. Discover the background to this seemingly unusual custom and how the animals lived and died.

Creepy Crawlies and Brilliant Bugs

Museum of Wigan Life
Tuesday 30th May and Thursday 1st June
1pm – 2.30pm
Price: £2.50 per per child booking required

Join us for May half term! Make your own creep crawlies, go on a ‘bug hunt’ and get a peak behind the scenes at preserved insects and butterflies from the collection.

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Standish Relics by John Nicholls MBE

Museum of Wigan Life
Tuesday 6th June
11am - 12noon
Price: £2.50 per person (incl. tea/coffee) booking required

Eighteenth century Lancashire was a hotbed of support for Bonnie Prince Charlie, the ‘Old Pretender’ and the Jacobite cause. The Standish Case contains Jacobite and Royal Stuart relics given to Ralph Standish by Bonnie Prince Charlie when he visited Standish Hall in the 1740s. Ralph’s passion for the 'King over the Water', which made him risk his life in the 1715 Jacobite Rising, still survives in this collection of remarkable objects cherished by generations of the Standish family. Share in the discovery as owner John tells the story of this rare survival from Lancashire, never seen in public before its display at the museum and of national importance.

The Douglas Navigation by Mike Clarke

Museum of Wigan Life
Tuesday 20th June
12 noon – 1pm
Price: £2.50 per person (incl. tea/coffee) booking required

Back by popular demand Mike Clarke looks at the story of Wigan’s River Douglas as it was turned from a natural waterway into an industrial highway. The Douglas Navigation was authorised in 1720 and finally opened in 1742 before it was closed in 1781. Find out more about this important part of our industrial heritage.

Dark Satanic play


Museum of Wigan Life
Saturday 1st July
Free, booking required. Age 15+

England, 1823. The Industrial Revolution and a changing world. Dark Satanic explores the challenges faced by 19th century working women as they successfully navigated a rapidly changing world - run mostly by men. Written by Rob Johnston (The Kings Cross Award for New Writing) and performed by Emma Romy-Jones (The Stage Edinburgh Award for Excellence).

Passchendaele and the First World War by Colonel Glover

Museum of Wigan Life
Thursday 6th July
12noon – 1.15pm
Price: £2.50 per person (incl. tea/coffee) booking required

July 2017 marks the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, an event made infamous by the mud and slaughter faced by troops on both sides during the First World War. After three months of fighting, causalities numbered 325,000 for the Allies and 260,000 for the Germans. The huge loss of life for limited gains continues to make this major battle controversial today. Why did the battle take place? How was it fought? What was the reality on the ground? Find out more about the military context of this battle and the conditions for those who lived and died through it.

Animal Mummies

Tuesday 25th July and 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th August
1pm - 2.30pm
Price: £2.50 per child booking required

Join us for summer fun as we make our own animal mummies and learn about Ancient Egypt. Get stuck in with activities and trails then discover the real animal mummies on display!

Explore Egypt


Thursday 27th July and 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st August
1pm - 2.30pm
Price: £2.50 per child booking required

Make your own treasures as we explore the Land of the Pharaohs! Try super trails, crafty treats and discover some real Egyptian artefacts.

Coming soon

Sex and Murder - Lancashire’s 19th Century Women Poisoners
By Martin Baggoley

Thursday 5th October
12noon - 1pm
Price: £2.50 per person incl tea/coffee booking required

Discover the gruesome history of women murders, their methods and final punishment. Hear about the case of Ann Burns, involving illicit sex, murder, insurance claims and infanticide in Wigan.

Spooky Halloween for kids

Tuesday 24th and Thursday 26th October
1pm - 2.30pm
Price: £2.50 per person incl tea/coffee booking required

Visit for Spooky Halloween activities. Make your own mask and ghoulish treats. Be there or be very afraid. Fancy dress welcome!

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

Tuesday 31st October
1pm - 2pm
Price: £2.50 per person incl tea/coffee booking required

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.

The Mummies Unmasked Dr Campbell Price

Eygptian Mummy in CT scanner

Thursday 16th November
Price: £2.50 per person (incl. tea/coffee) booking required

A special look underneath the bandages of Manchester Museum’s Egyptian mummies. The unique collection of mummies has undergone investigation using CT scanning and this is an amazing opportunity to hear first hand about the findings. What do the scans reveal about mummification? Who were the mummies? How were the mummies made? Back by popular demand.

The Pretoria Pit Disaster by Alan Davies

Thursday 23rd November
12noon - 1pm
Price: £2.50 per person incl tea/coffee booking required

Find out about the largest mine disaster in the Lancashire coalfield. On the morning of the 21st Dec 1910, 344 men and boys were killed at Hulton Bank No.3 Pit. Discover more about this tragic event and its impact on the local community.


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