Gallery Oldham has three large exhibition spaces plus a community gallery.
We take an innovative and unique approach to exhibition programming, bringing together what were once separate museum and gallery services.
Our programming incorporates Oldham’s extensive art, social and natural history collections alongside touring work, newly commissioned and contemporary art, international art and work produced with local communities.
In addition we have permanent displays around the building.
Gallery 1 – Oldham Stories
This gallery permanently houses both:
Oldham Stories exhibition, featuring selected objects from our extensive collections to tell and show the stories of Oldham and its local communities. From birds and shells to a recreation of an Edwardian chemist’s shop, every object has a fascinating tale to tell. The display features local figures such as suffragette Annie Kenny, the pioneering natural history collector James Nield and the popular artist Helen Bradley.
The Community Gallery, which has a wide range of exhibitions by groups and individuals from the Borough of Oldham.
Gallery 2 – The Art of Science: Taxidermy by Jack Fishwick
15 June – 7 September
For Jack Fishwick taxidermy is an art form. But it is art based on a deep understanding and careful observation of the natural world. From a very early age he was fascinated by natural history and had a passion for drawing and painting wildlife. He has risen to the profession’s highest level, winning international championships and becoming a judge and instructor at all of the world’s major taxidermy events.
Museums use taxidermy to present animals posed as if they were still alive. The real skin is mounted over an artificial body or armature to recreate a lifelike shape. Few museum specimens are by named artists and until recently the skill of the taxidermist has rarely been acknowledged. A recent revival has renewed our appreciation of taxidermy as an art.
This exhibition has been more than five years in the making. The works on display illustrate Jack’s enthusiasm for the art of nature and the science of art.
Gallery 3 – From Waterloo to Peterloo
25 May – 21 September
In 1819 a peaceful political meeting in Manchester ended in violence, confusion and death. This notorious event quickly became known as the Peterloo Massacre and today is recognised as an important step in the development of democracy in Britain.
Thousands of people walked from Oldham and the surrounding areas to attend the meeting. Dozens were injured and several were killed. Oldham became the scene of a notorious inquest into the death of one local man, John Lees, who had survived the battle of Waterloo but died as a result of Peterloo four years later. The inquest was a chance for witnesses to put their account of that bloody day onto the record.
This exhibition explores what life was like in 1819 using the collections of Gallery Oldham, Oldham Archives and Local Studies Library and a selection of images from the new graphic novel about Peterloo. Who were the Oldhamers at Peterloo and what ideas were they fighting for?
The Oldham Open 2019
20 September – 30 November
The Oldham Open is back. This show is held every two years to showcase work by artists living, working or studying in the borough of Oldham. From drawing, painting and photography to ceramics, jewellery and sculpture, the exhibition features a wide range of artists with a huge array of styles.
5 October – 30 November
See paper in new light. From collage to sculpture, corrugated card to blotting paper, this Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition features a huge range of approaches. The show features works on paper which have been burnt, torn and cut by artists such as Roger Ackling, Cornelia Parker, Tim Davies and Simon Periton.