Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery is housed in a Grade II listed building in the heart of Blackburn town centre.
Galleries on the ground floor house local history exhibitions. A large room towards the rear of the building houses an extensive and fascinating display of looms and textile-related items. Most come from the former Lewis Textile Museum. Exhibits in other rooms on this level explore topics such as life in Blackburn during World War II and the town’s role in the Industrial Revolution.
More galleries can be found upstairs. The museum’s extensive Coleoptera collection is the highlight of the natural history section. Glass cabinets on the first floor landing hold thousands of preserved beetles from all over the world. They were donated by local businessman Arthur Bowdler in 1914.
The first floor is also home to the Egyptology gallery. It’s much smaller than the Egyptian display at Bolton Museum but is nevertheless interesting. Exhibits include a mummy from the first century AD, death and ritual objects, pottery and jewellery.
The Hart Collection comprises thousands of rare books, manuscripts, and coins from around the world. The museum also boasts an extensive collection of Victorian oil paintings and one of the largest collections of religious icons outside London.
At the time of writing (September 2015) opening times for the museum are noon to 4.45 pm Wednesday to Saturday. The museum is closed on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and bank holidays.
Admission to the museum and temporary exhibitions and events is free.