Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery

Alex Zawadzki
Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery
Shafiq Khan

Collections of traditional Japanese prints, the UK’s second largest collection of icons, medieval manuscripts, an Egyptian mummy, beetle specimens and a room of gilded framed art works hung salon style make Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery  a fine example of a 19th century town museum. Originally, the site was one of the first purpose-built museums established outside of London; no doubt due to the town’s place as an economic power house and an extremely prosperous mill town.

These institutions were developed from the European ‘Wunderkammer’, or Wonder Cabinets. Quite literally large cabinets filled with assorted drawers displaying the anthropological, natural and ethnographic finds.

A closer examination of the museum today sees the Industrial Revolution story encapsulated through its architecture, artworks, collections and contemporary exhibitions.  Built as a gift to the people of Blackburn, to educate and entertain, the grandeur of the building exudes industrial wealth, with cast iron stair rails, walls in emerald or vermillion and decorative plaster work; while it houses displays of the looms laboured over by the working classes to build the economy of what was once of Britain’s wealthiest towns.

Like many others built in the era, this museum contains artefacts that represent stories of Britain’s colonial history. ‘The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & Why We Need to Talk About It’ by Alice Procter is a fantastic resource to read before visiting traditional museum spaces, to undertake a contemplative and informed visit; or pay a visit to the Cotton Town website to understand the Industrial Story that informed the creation of these museums for education and entertainment.

Museum StBlackburnBB1 7AJ View map
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Opening Hours

  • Wednesday12:00pm - 4:45pm
  • Thursday12:00pm - 4:45pm
  • Friday12:00pm - 4:45pm
  • Saturday12:00pm - 4:45pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery

Manchester Festival of Nature
FamiliesManchester
Manchester Festival of Nature

Manchester’s Festival of Nature returns to Heaton Park for a day of celebrating the varied flora and fauna to be found in this bee themed city.

free entry
Until
CinemaCheetham Hill
Jewish Culture Club

Meet new people, explore contemporary cultural works and learn about Jewish culture with Jewish Culture Club at Manchester Jewish Museum.

free entry
Ian Humphreys
LiteratureWest Yorkshire
Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub.

free entry

Where to go near Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery

Blackburn
Music venue
The Exchange, Blackburn

Dating back to 1865 when it opened as one of four exchange halls in the country, The Exchange is an iconic Blackburn venue

Blackburn
King George’s Hall, Blackburn

One of the North West of England’s best known and loved entertainment venues the historic King George’s Hall in Blackburn was built in the classical style from stone quarried at Butler’s Delph in Pleasington.

Haute Dolci
Blackburn
Restaurant
Haute Dolci

This is dessert heaven served in the most amazing surroundings. A beautiful destination for all manner of sweet treats and the added bonus of a click and collect service. Vanilla Milk cake, Mintberry Mojito or test yourself with a Lick Your Lips – Fudge Brownies, Belgian Milk Chocolate, with Milk Chocolate Curls and Strawberries.

Exchange Coffee
Blackburn
Café or Coffee Shop
Exchange Coffee

Serving award winning coffees and a great choice of loose teas, cold drinks and takeaway delights including toasted fruit teacakes, crumpets and toast all of which you can order online through its click and collect service.

Lancashire
Restaurant
Scholars Restaurant

This quality bistro offers fine dining at fabulous prices. One of the leading training restaurants, Scholars Restaurant is run by both industry professionals and fantastic Blackburn College students.

Remix Casuals
Blackburn
Shop
Remix Casuals

A long term favourite for skate brands and streetwear with a mini skate ramp in the basement.

Blackburn
Event venue
The Bureau Centre for the Arts

The Bureau is an artist led arts and community centre, providing a versatile and inclusive space for theatre, music, cultural events and community participation.

Thira
Blackburn
Restaurant
Thira

Blackburn is synonymous with a great curry and Thira offers exactly that. With a discount available for click and collect, you can call and pre-order from a wide menu of home dining options. Starters include Grilled King Fish , boneless diced lamb sauteed with crushed ginger and shallots or a deep dish of mussels marinated with Kerala spices and deep fried.

Blackburn
Shop
Me To A Tee

Two young Blackburners set up this shop selling vintage and sought after football casual brands, such as Iceberg, Moncler, Stone Island CP and Company.

Culture Guides