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 includes a small collection of 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
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:
A History of Rugby in 50 Objects
This ongoing exhibition uses 50 objects to tell the story of Rugby’s history. These objects from from fossils and Roman artefacts to a cold cathode clock from Rugby Radio Station and a birch used by the headmaster at Rugby School.
Rugby Open 2023
The annual Rugby Open 2023 exhibition (until 3 February 2024) presents work from local artists, welcoming entrants from Warwickshire and neighbouring regions, encompassing a diverse array of artistic forms, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and photography. Expert judges evaluate the works and award prizes, providing local artists with a platform to display their talents.
Redding Around Rugby
The Redding Around Rugby exhibition (until 6 April 2024) is a display of photos from Redding Photographers’ Rodney H Huntingford. These images depict local companies, shops, transport and buildings, offering a captivating view of Rugby’s mid-20th-century transformation. Huntingford took ownership of Redding Photographers in 1936 and operated it until 1980, amassing thousands of photographs of Rugby. The exhibition showcases a diverse array of subjects, including factories, schools, shops and candid moments of everyday life, beautifully capturing Rugby’s spirit during this era.
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.