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A 'hands on' museum for all the family. Full of fun activities, fascinating facts and a chance to share some cherished memories! Come and discover the borough of Rochdale's unique past and, perhaps, help shape its future

Uncover the story of a landscape shaped by glaciers, rivers, the weather, and above all, by people. From Stone Age settlers clearing the forests to sprawling mill-towns, with their roads, canals and railways.

Experience the everyday lives of those who made this area their home. From birth to death. At work, at play, at home. In peacetime and at war.

Meet the people who found fame. Learn more about our historic buildings and events. Hear the myths and legends the town has inspired.

School Days

Venue: Heywood Sports Village

Until February 2017

Objects from the Museum Collection tell the story of what it was like to go to school in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the past school was not always compulsory to attend and children learned to read, write and count at either Sunday Schools or Dame Schools. The display includes a Victorian school desk, games and a teaching box crammed full of interesting items that was used to teach and inspire pupils about the wonders of the world.


Opening up… memories, conversations and heritage

Venue: Middleton Arena

Until May 2017

This community led exhibition invited people who attend Alzheimer’s Society Memory Cafés to take part in arts activities and behind-the-scenes tours of the Museum Collection to trigger memories from the past including stories of glamourous followers of fashion, working life in the local textile mills and ‘Whit Walks’. Inspired by their stories, artists Alison Cooper, Patricia Cartner and Vinnie James have created new illustrations and sculpture to sit alongside Museum objects in this exciting display.

Touchstones Rochdale has a wide variety of volunteering opportunities and are always looking for people to come and help out.

Opportunities include working in our gallery spaces to welcome visitors in the spaces; helping our education team prepare handling boxes, supporting our programme team to run events and many more opportunities. For those looking to volunteer with a background and qualification working in the Heritage Sector, we do have a placement scheme available in the Arts & Heritage Resource Centre. For more information, please emailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.