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 – Benedict Phillips 

6 July – 8 October 2021

Benedict Philips in Red Hat in front of blackboard
The Red DIV, 2011 by Benedict Philips
© Benedict Philips

We present Benedict Phillips’ first large scale exhibition of contemporary art and performance.

Benedict is “very good at being disleksick” and his work concentrates on his experiences of living in a leksick world. Benedict has been exploring social and political ideas of difference through photography, sculpture, performance and video since 1995, when his ‘Agenda of the Aggressive Dyslexic was published.

Benedict says Exploring and communicating through doing and making images is fundamental to human nature despite the text heavy society that we live in. My work is deadly serious about some flippant attitudes within society and deliberately provocative and humorous about the harsh experiences of this life”.


Gallery 3 – Brick by Brick

26 June – 4 September 2021

Girl playing with tilting table part of the Brick by Brick exhibition interactives.


The Brick by Brick exhibition gathers the work of 18 artists, designers and photographers from around the world who use LEGO® bricks as their medium or inspiration. Using this simple plastic construction block as their starting point, they have created stunning, thought provoking and often humorous artworks which will appeal to art enthusiasts and LEGO® fans alike. Inspired by the wide range of artworks on show, a LEGO® graffiti wall, build tables and a selection of LEGO® related games gives visitors the opportunity to try their hand at creating their own construction brick artwork.

Image Credit: Photography – James Mulkeen

Brick by Brick is a 20-21 Visual Arts Centre Touring Exhibition.           


Oldham’s Lockdown Museum – online exhibition

A child’s rainbow in a window

Oldham’s Lockdown Museum is a new digital project to collect a snapshot of what life is like in our local area during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We’d love to share your experiences and ideas, and see pictures (photographs or drawings/paintings) or films of the objects that sum them up, whatever they are.

Each week we will set a theme for you to respond to. You are also welcome to send us Lockdown related images which don’t relate to the themes. We will exhibit our favourite entries in Oldham’s Lockdown Museum the following week so make sure that you check back here soon. To find out more about how to enter and this week’s theme click here.

Coming soon….in 2021


Painting of african women by Chike_Azuonye-OzoemenaLegacies of Biafra | 23 October – 26 February 2021

This multimedia exhibition commemorates the 50th anniversary of the end of the Nigeria-Biafra war, providing a timely reflection on the ongoing impact of the war. The exhibition considers how one of the first civil wars in post-independence Africa has influenced the perception of the continent internationally whilst examining the legacies of war visible in the social and political structures within Nigeria.

The exhibition features works predominantly from the artistic collective Nigeria Art Society UK (NASUK), which will be exhibited alongside archival materials on the war and a selection of short films. Find out more in this interview with Gallery Oldham’s curator Rebecca Hill, independent curator Louisa Egbunike and Nigerian Art Society UK president Hassan Aliyu.


The National Gallery Masterpiece Tour: Degas’s Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study | 18 September 2021 – 8 January 2022

The title of Degas’ Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study suggests that it is a portrait of a young woman. When you look more closely, however, the stories the painting tells are all about Hélène’s father, Henri Rouart. Our exhibition asks: Is this really a portrait of Hélène, or of her father?

This is the starting point for an exploration of the ways in which women are represented within our art collections. Gallery Oldham holds many portraits in which the woman is not named. Sometimes she is described as “wife” or “daughter”, sometimes the title completely ignores the fact there is a woman in the portrait at all. We are using this exciting National Gallery partnership as a starting point to try to uncover the identities of some of these sitters, and to find out more about those who we know little.


Portrait of Hélène Rouart in her Father's Study.

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas. Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study. © The National Gallery, London.

Logo for National Gallery and Christie's