OMA is coming
OMA brings together the work of Gallery Oldham, Oldham Theatre Workshop, Oldham Arts Development and Oldham Local Studies and Archives into one exciting shared venue. We will be sharing our progress and all the latest news about the project on our OMA blog here.
This welcoming and dynamic space will be the place for you and your family to get involved with a range of creative activities. The plans to transform Oldham’s original Library, Museum and Art Gallery building have been made possible thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and local philanthropist Sir Norman Stoller. We’ve come a long way since funding was awarded and here’s a peek at some of our plans.
Oldham’s first Library, Museum and Art Gallery was opened in 1883. Today it is a much-loved building and the OMA project will protect and restore many period details. This includes work to take up the original wooden parquet floor tiles and carefully clean and re-lay each one. The original lightwell will to reopened to allow daylight to flood through the building once again. The ornate staircase will be restored and a dramatic new glass lift will be installed to provide access to all levels of the building.
The ground floor of OMA is designed to be a social place. OMA will be somewhere to meet up with friends, enjoy a drink or browse the range of local art and craft for sale in our shop. The restaurant and bar will also be open late to support our fantastic range of new evening events. One of the most exciting developments is the restoration of the original 1800s lecture theatre. This new flexible performance space will be the venue to see a range of productions – music comedy and drama – from Oldham Theatre Workshop and other touring companies.
The OMA first floor will feature two permanent museum galleries and an interactive discovery space. The Changing Landscapes gallery will use our natural history collections to explore the many habitats and green spaces in the local area. Changing Lives will document stories of the industries and people that have shaped Oldham over the years. Also on the first floor is a fabulous flexible space which will accommodate a range of events from community exhibitions to community choirs.
On the OMA second floor work will restore the two impressive and light-filled gallery spaces that were the highlight of the 1883 building. One of these spaces will once again become an art gallery and creative space that will house permanent displays from Gallery Oldham collections. The other space will provide a new home for our Local Studies and Archives Collections. Through this facility OMA will provide access to more our collections than ever before so you can discover more about your family history, the history of your house, street or workplace.
To connect OMA to Gallery Oldham and Oldham Library, the garden between the two buildings will be re-imagined and replanted with native species. The main entrance to OMA will be through a new opening on the west side of the building. This will ensure that the building is fully accessible and connect it to the newly landscaped gardens. This outdoor space will be a focal point for popular events such as Illuminate and Festival Oldham. Look out for these OMA Outdoors activities throughout the year.