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In a lovely Historicist building made from Yorkshire stone, Touchstones is a town museum, art gallery, visitor information centre and study centre.

The venue is the Central Library, Museum and Art Gallery, dating from 1883 and extended in 1903 and 1913. As a museum, Touchstones uncovers Rochdale’s human and natural history, charting the cotton mills, Rochdale Canal and the advent of the railway, and showing how the landscape was cut by melting glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age.

You’ll also be introduced to some important Rochdale locals like the Victorian photographer Roger Fenton and the broadcaster John Peel.

Like the museum display, the art gallery is on a constant rotation, calling on a collection of 1,600 pieces by the likes of L. S. Lowry, Charles Burton Barber, Jeremy Critchlow and Jeffrey Edwards.

In spring 2019, “What if We Tried?” was an attempt to hang as much of the collection in a single exhibition, across three galleries.

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