Exciting Two-Year Programme to Showcase Museum’s Hidden Treasures

Wigan Borough’s esteemed collections, containing ancient Roman and Egyptian artefacts, are set to take center stage in a brand new exhibition for 2024.

Named “What’s In Store,” this exhibition will offer a rare glimpse into items that are rarely seen by the public, bringing both local and global history to life.

Located at the Museum of Wigan Life, the exhibition will be organized based on the material and type of collection, rather than a specific theme. Visitors can look forward to exciting trails and activities suitable for the whole family.

Opening in May and running until 2026, the exhibition will replace the highly successful Make Some Noise musical history exhibition, which has attracted over 15,345 visitors since 2023.

Councillor Chris Ready, the cabinet member for communities at Wigan Council, expressed, “Similar to most museums, the Museum of Wigan Life can only display around 10 percent of our collections at any given time, with the majority stored away. However, feedback from the community has shown that people want to see more of our collections, and we have listened. We are eager to bring this history to life!”

The people of Wigan Borough are a crucial part of this project, and the council is keen to engage with residents to determine what aspects of the collections they would like to focus on in the future.

During the summer months, the exhibition will embark on a tour of local libraries across the borough, offering mini displays to communities and creating opportunities for residents to provide their input.

As part of the project, there are also plans to allow schools and organizations to loan objects related to their work, further enhancing the inclusivity and collaboration of the exhibition.

Funding from Arts Council England, through National Lottery Project Grants, has made the creation of “What’s In Store” possible, alongside support from Wigan Council.

Jen Cleary, Director, North, Arts Council England, expressed her delight in supporting the Museum of Wigan Life in this exciting new venture. She emphasized the crucial role museums play in helping society discover and explore its identity and heritage. Cleary also highlighted the significance of bringing rarely displayed collections to communities across Wigan and the increased accessibility through the What’s In Store On Tour program.

Wigan is a Priority Place for the Arts Council, with committed funding and resources dedicated to the area to foster the growth of the cultural sector and enrich the lives of the community. This aligns with the Let’s Create strategy, which aims to ensure everyone has access to exceptional cultural experiences. Cleary also extended gratitude to National Lottery players, as their investment has made this project possible.

The current “Make Some Noise” exhibition will conclude on Saturday, February 24, making way for the eagerly anticipated opening of the What’s In Store? exhibition at the Museum of Wigan Life on Saturday, May 18.

For further details about the Museum of Wigan Life, please visit their website.

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