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Looking Forward to Wigan's Past: New Museum Planned
Friday 19th December, 2008

Looking Forward to Wigan's Past: New Museum Planned
The History Shop

A NEW museum dedicated to the history of Wigan will be unveiled at the town’s History Shop once its £1.3m makeover is complete.

The current exhibition area at the Library Street building will be completely revamped to allow for a display devoted to the borough’s past.

It’s the first time the story of Wigan from the Romans to the Battle of Wigan Lane to the present day will have been presented in its entirety.

Although finer details are still being finalised the history of Wigan will be split into different themes including Wigan at War, Wigan Sport and Our Wigan – focusing on the stories of the actual people who lived and worked in the town.

Carole Tyldesley, Heritage Services Manager for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust who manage the History Shop, said: “Our aim is to create an exhibition that explains just what made Wigan the place it is today and why we’re so proud to be from Wigan.

“It will focus on the community and spirit of Wigan people from Roman times to the 21st Century.

“We want people to experience, discover and identify the people and the events that have moulded modern Wigan.”

Wigan History Shop, where George Orwell famously researched his book, “The Road to Wigan Pier” will close on December 23 for a 12 month makeover.

Following a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £500,000 and match funding from Wigan Council and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust the exciting work will see new museum displays, major access improvements, a full refurbishment of the study and research areas and new toilet facilities on the ground floor.

As part of the changes the temporary exhibition of the Millennium Maps that have been exhibited since 2002 will be re-united with the communities that made them.

In the run up to the Millennium celebration communities across Wigan Borough created a tapestry of their own areas depicting focal points and places of interest.

Initiated by the Wigan branch of the Soroptimists in 1997 all 29 panels of the map would create a 300ft tapestry of the borough if put end to end. Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust and Wigan Soroptimists explored several options to site the map at an alternative location.

Marion Andrews, press secretary for the Soroptimists said: “We’re been in contact with schools and community venues across Wigan Borough and almost all the panels have now been allocated.

“When we started this project in 1997 it generated a lot of community spirit and brought a lot of people together. We’re hoping that can be replicated again now that the maps are back in the communities that created them.”

Services at The History Shop will be temporarily switched to Wigan Library and will be available from January 5th for the next twelve months.

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