Raising the roof on Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery!

Published Monday 3 July 2023 at 17:39

The scaffolding is up and work has started on vital repairs to the roof at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery.

It comes ahead of the popular attraction celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2024.

Fascinatingly, back when it first opened its doors in 1874, it was one of the first purpose-built free museums to open outside of London.

Today, it houses a collection covering fine art, decorative art, Egyptology (the famous Egyptian Mummy is still a popular attraction!) coins, manuscripts, natural history, social history and South Asia.

And, of course, it’s still free to enjoy.

With its big birthday on the horizon, there’s set to be lots of changes about the place with new events, exhibitions and activities – boosted after the museum was awarded Arts Council Portfolio status, securing almost £450,000 of funding over the next three years.

Staff there have also successfully secured a further £365,000 of grant funding to help towards fixing the leaky roof too.

Councillor Quesir Mahmood, Deputy Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council and Executive Member for Growth and Development said:

It’s fantastic to see these improvements underway ahead of the Museum’s special birthday next year.

Back when the museum first opened, the whole aim was to bring culture to the people of our borough and for free and as we look to its 150th birthday, we’ll continue to do just that while further building on its success.

Having a strong cultural offer is important to us as a Council and for our future growth plans for our town centres.

A fantastic example of that is the National Festival of Making which will once again return to Blackburn next week, with the museum being a key venue.

It attracts tens of thousands of visitors and there’s a packed programme of things to see, do and enjoy. I look forward to seeing the museum busy with visitors and the improvement works completed ahead of its milestone year.

The grant for the roof repairs was awarded through the Government’s Museums Estate and Development Fund, delivered by Arts Council England, which aims to safeguard cultural assets and power economic growth through culture.

And, Blackburn with Darwen Council has invested a further £189,700 to allow for the works to be completed.

The museum will remain open throughout the works, although access to the first floor will be restricted.

This year, as well as playing its part in key events, including the National Festival of Making and the British Textile Biennial, it’ll also re-tell the stories of the cotton industries from different views, with the journey of cotton from America and India to the tales of the mill workers and the stories of what happened to the mills after the industry was gone.

The museum, just across the road from the Old Town Hall in Museum Street, will also continue to develop a distinctive and exciting programme with local schools, charities and its key supporters and stakeholders too.

The opening hours are: Weds, Thurs, Fri and Sat between 12 noon and 4:45pm and there’s free activities during the school holidays too.

You can find out more about the collections, what’s on and watch videos by visiting:


The museum always needs support from residents who want to find out more about Blackburn with Darwen and its history and help shape the museum’s displays and its future.

Again, please visit the website for more information or drop in to speak to a member of the team.

This site uses cookies. Find out more about this site’s cookies.