Encouraging everyone to be active, creative and healthy

Museum of Wigan Life

Discover the people and places of Wigan borough, past and present at the Museum of Wigan Life.


What we doThe 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 Northern Soul to the mysterious sport of clog fighting.


When we're open

Mondays: 10am - 5pm
Tuesdays: 10am - 5pm
Wednesdays: Closed
Thursdays: 10am - 5pm
Fridays: 10am - 5pm
Saturdays: 11am - 3pm
Sundays: Closed


Where we are

Museum of Wigan Life

Library Street


WN1 1NU 


How to get here

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.


Get in touch

For general enquiries, venue hire and to book events call: 01942 828128

Email: museumofwiganlifebookings@wlct.org

For Family History and Local Studies enquiries at the museum call: 01942 828020

Email: heritage@wlct.org 



Uncle Joe's Mint Balls - the taste of Wigan for years!Why not visit the museum shop for local gifts and books?

Our 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.


We are happy to arrange mail order (plus p&p fee) and accept debit/credit card payments. Call 01942 828128 or email museumofwiganlifebookings@wlct.org.


About the museum

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.


Family History & Local Studies

You can delve into your own family history and local area in Wigan Family History & Local Studies upstairs at the museum. Our friendly staff are always on hand to help and advise.


We're family friendly!

The museum especially welcomes families. Trails for children age 7-11 are available on reception and the special exhibition has children’s activities. There is a baby changing facility on the ground floor in the accessible toilet. Why not make a day of it and combine your visit with a trip to Trencherfield Mill?



The museum is fully accessible to wheelchair users with an accessible toilet, lift and lowered counter section on reception.


There is accessible parking at the top of library street. Guide and assistance dogs are welcome at the museum. A hearing loop system is available in the main galleries and around the reception in Local & Family History on the first floor. Please contact us in advance for the portable hearing loop.


There is magnifying software on people’s network machines in Local & Family History. Magnifiers, large print and braille information may be available on request, please ask at reception.