Located in the heart of Rochdale, England, Touchstones is a vibrant cultural venue that offers a unique blend of art, heritage, and community engagement. As one of the most popular local museums in Rochdale, Touchstones is a must-visit for anyone interested in Rochdale history, art, and culture. Whether you’re a local resident or a tourist exploring Rochdale, Touchstones offers a wealth of things to do and see.
History of Touchstones
Touchstones museum is housed in a beautifully restored 19th-century building that was once the Rochdale Central Library. The museum opened its doors in 2002, and since then, it has been a central hub for Rochdale’s cultural and community activities. The museum’s name, ‘Touchstones’, is derived from the ancient custom of testing the purity of gold or silver by rubbing it on a touchstone, symbolizing the museum’s role in preserving and showcasing Rochdale’s rich history and heritage.
Attractions at Touchstones
Touchstones is home to four distinct sections: an art gallery, a museum, a local studies centre, and a visitor information centre. Each section offers a unique insight into Rochdale’s past and present.
- Art Gallery: The art gallery at Touchstones features a diverse range of exhibitions, from contemporary art to historical pieces. It showcases works from local and international artists, providing a platform for creative expression and dialogue.
- Museum: The museum section houses a vast collection of artifacts that tell the story of Rochdale’s history, from its early beginnings to the present day. The exhibits cover various aspects of Rochdale’s past, including its industrial heritage, social history, and natural history.
- Local Studies Centre: The Local Studies Centre is a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in researching Rochdale’s history. It houses a vast collection of books, maps, photographs, and other resources.
- Visitor Information Centre: The Visitor Information Centre provides helpful information about Rochdale tourism, including details about other heritage sites in Rochdale, local events, and accommodation options.
Touchstones is open to the public six days a week, and admission is free. Guided tours are available for groups, but they must be booked in advance. The museum also hosts a variety of events and workshops throughout the year, catering to all age groups.
Tips for Tourists
Here are some practical tips for tourists planning to visit Touchstones Rochdale:
- Plan your visit: Check the museum’s website for the latest information on opening hours, exhibitions, and events.
- Take your time: There’s a lot to see at Touchstones, so allow plenty of time to explore all the sections.
- Visit the café: The museum has a lovely café where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a light meal.
- Explore the surroundings: Touchstones is located in Rochdale town centre, which is home to several other cultural attractions in Rochdale, including the Rochdale Pioneers Museum and the Rochdale Town Hall.
In conclusion, Touchstones is a gem in Rochdale’s cultural landscape, offering a rich and diverse experience for locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or just looking for things to do in Rochdale, a visit to Touchstones is sure to be a rewarding experience.