Rugby Art Gallery and Museum

Free

The Rugby Art Gallery and Museum in the centre of Rugby has exhibits on local history including Roman artefacts excavated from the nearby Roman town of Tripontium plus displays of contemporary art that include works by LS Lowry.

What to see at the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum

The Rugby Art Gallery and Museum is a small museum with exhibits about local history as well as displays of contemporary art.

The museum’s Archaeology Gallery focuses on Roman artefacts from Tripontium, a town just 8km (5 miles) from Rugby that flourished during the Roman period. Tripontium started out as a military post on Watling Street (a major road that ran diagonally across Roman Britan that roughly follows the route of the A5 and has traditionally denoted the boundary between Warwickshire and Leicestershire) but later became an important civilian town before being abandoned towards the end of the 4th century. Although Tripontium is not open to the public, many of the most important artefacts excavated on the site are on display at the museum including exhibits depicting life here during Roman times.

The Social History Gallery includes exhibits about more recent local history including displays of artefacts showing how Rugby life has changed over the past 200 years.

The art gallery’s permanent collection, the Rugby Collection, includes local art plus an excellent collection of 20th-century contemporary British art that includes Three Groups of Figures on a Pink Ground by Barbara Hepworth, Monday Morning by LS Lowry, The Bride’s Secret Diary by Paula Rego and Richard Carline by Stanley Spencer. Note that while this comes from the gallery’s permanent collection, the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum rotates what is on public display so you won’t always be able to see the same pieces.

The Floor One Gallery displays artwork by freelance artists with the exhibits changing every two to three weeks.

Temporary exhibitions at the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum

The museum also hosts a programme of temporary exhibitions. Current and upcoming exhibitions include:

Domestic Fantastic: Prints and Paintings by Chris Orr RA
This exhibition (until 8 June 2024) showcases a diverse body of work by Chris Orr RA, a London-based painter and printmaker whose work has been exhibited globally and features in prestigious collections including the Tate Gallery and the Science Museum.

Jason and his Argonauts
This exhibition (22 June–7 September 2024) of Jason Wilsher-Mills’ distinctive work celebrates disability, his northern working-class heritage, popular culture from his childhood and the life experiences of other disabled people. These themes are explored through cutting-edge technologies, resulting in Jason’s brightly coloured, large-scale, humorous art. When asked about his work, he simply replies, “Think ‘I, Daniel Blake’ meets ‘The Beano’”.

A History of Rugby in 50 Objects
This ongoing exhibition uses 50 objects to tell the story of Rugby’s history. These objects range from fossils and Roman artefacts to a cold cathode clock from Rugby Radio Station and a birch used by the headmaster at Rugby School.

Visiting the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum

The Rugby Art Gallery and Museum is located in a building at the southwestern corner of the town centre that is shared with the town’s library.

It is open Tuesday to Saturday and admission is free of charge.

Note that parts of the museum may be temporarily closed while exhibitions are being changed or updated. However, in most instances, the Archaeology Gallery and the Floor One Gallery will continue to remain open at these times.

The art gallery and museum is fully wheelchair accessible with disabled toilets and a lift to all floors.

It is only a small museum and a visit shouldn’t take much longer than an hour or two.

Amenities
  • Wheelchair access

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