Museum's stores to be displayed in exciting two-year programme
Wigan Borough’s historic collections – including ancient Roman and Egyptian artefacts – will be the headline act in a new exhibition for 2024.
What’s In Store will showcase items seldom seen by the public, bringing both local and global history to life.
Hosted at the Museum of Wigan Life, the exhibition will be organised by material and type of collection rather than around a specific theme, with trails and activities for the whole family.
It will open in May, continuing through to 2026 and replaces the successful Make Some Noise musical history exhibition, which has seen more than 15,345 visitors since 2023.
Councillor Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities at Wigan Council, said: “Like most museums, at the Museum of Wigan Life we are only able to display about 10 per cent of our collections at any one time, with the majority of collections in storage.
“But feedback from the community was that people want to see more of our collections, and so we have responded and will bring a lot of this history to life!
“The people of Wigan Borough are a really important part of this project and we’re looking forward to speaking to and meeting with residents to find out more about what they’d like us to focus on with our collections going forward.”
Through the summer months, What’s in Store On Tour will see mini displays touring libraries across the borough – bringing collections to communities and providing opportunities for residents to give feedback.
Opportunities for schools and organisations to loan objects linked to their work are also being explored as part of the project.
‘What’s in Store’ has been made possible with funding from Arts Council England through National Lottery Project Grants and Wigan Council.
Jen Cleary, Director, North, Arts Council England said: “I am so pleased we’re able to support Museum of Wigan Life to create this exciting new project, What’s In Store. Museums play an important role in helping us to discover and explore who we are as a society and where we have come from. It is fantastic that communities across Wigan will have the opportunity to see collections rarely put on display and that more people than ever will have access to the museum through the What’s In Store On Tour programme.
“Wigan is a Priority Place for the Arts Council, we have committed funding and resources into the area to help to continue the growth of the cultural sector and creatives lives of communities across the town, this includes supporting projects like What’s In Store. This project speaks to the heart of our Let’s Create strategy, we want to ensure every one of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. I would also like to thank National Lottery players as this project has only been made possible through investment from the National Lottery.”
The exhibition will bring the current ‘Make Some Noise’ exhibition to a close on Saturday, February 24.
The Museum of Wigan Life re-opens with the What’s In Store? exhibition on Saturday, May 18.