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.

Current Exhibitions

Gallery 1 – Oldham StoriesAmerican Eagle Owl

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 Oldham Open 2019

20 September- 30 November 2019

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.

The exhibition is always incredibly varied – from people who may have recently retired and joined their first art class, to the professional artists who are based in our borough. As ever, there will definitely be something for everyone.

Work is for sale, so it’s ideal opportunity to pick up some early Christmas presents for the art lovers in your life.


Gallery 3 – From Waterloo to Peterloo

Until 21 September

Image © Peterloo graphic novel (peterloo.org)

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?

Coming soon…

On Paper

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.

Sounds Like Her 

14 December – 7 March 2020

Sounds Like Her is a touring exhibition curated by Christine Eyene and produced by New Art Exchange. It brings together six artists to explore what sound can mean in different contexts. The exhibition includes pieces by Sonia Boyce, Christine Sun Kim, Ain Bailey, Magda Starwarska-Beavan, Linda O’Keefe and Elsa M’bala.

Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism

14 March – 31 May 2020

Syd Shelton’s photographs capture one of the most intriguing periods in British post-war history. Between 1976 and 1981, the movement Rock Against Racism (RAR) confronted racist ideology in the streets, parks and town halls of Britain. RAR was formed by a collective of musicians and political activists to fight racism and fascism through music.

Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, Late Works 1950-1954

21 March – 16 May 2020

This exhibition presents an overview of the spectacular last works of the French artist Henri Matisse.  The paper cut-outs that Matisse made during the last years of his life are among his most vibrant and joyous creations. Confined to his wheelchair or bed, and no longer able to paint, sculpt or make prints, he ‘drew with scissors’, cutting directly into brilliantly coloured paper pre-painted by assistants under his supervision. This exhibition shows lithographs of these works.