Days of Laughter, Days of Pain: The Miners’ Strike in Rotherham, 1984-5

2024 marks 40 years since the historic 1984-5 miners’ strike, the largest industrial dispute the UK has ever seen. This exhibition explores the strike year in Rotherham. From the organisation and mobilisation of pickets, rallies and support groups in the spring and summer of 1984, though the intense struggle of autumn and winter, before the mass march back to work in March 1985. In this exhibition, you’ll hear how the strike is remembered across the Borough, and explore our archive and museum collections and community loans related to this historic event.

Please be aware that this exhibition contains strong language and depictions of violence. It may not be suitable for younger children and vulnerable adults.

’Days of Laughter, Days of Pain: The Miners’ Strike in Rotherham, 1984-5’’

Early Rotherham

The early Rotherham galleries show the development of Rotherham from its geological foundations to the English Civil War. The galleries focus on the Pre-historic, Roman and Medieval periods. Making use of a wide range of collections material, interactives and set dressing.

Varoius objects which from the Early Rotherham exhibition.


‘Ghost’ (2001) is a 3 x 2.5 metre scanachrome print on an aluminium lightbox, by Turner Prize-winning contemporary artist Mark Wallinger. Ghost is directly inspired by the famous painting ‘Whistlejacket’ by George Stubb, which was originally displayed at Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham and is now hanging in the National Gallery, London. The celebrated 18th century painting shows a famous racehorse owned by the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham. In ‘Ghost’, Wallinger adds a narwhal tusk to a negative image of ‘Whistlejacket’, transforming the horse into a unicorn.

Ghost is on loan from Museums Sheffield.

The work now takes pride of place in the entrance hall to the museum.

Artwork of a white unicorn standing on it's back legs

Ceramics Gallery

Come and see our world renowned Rockingham pottery, made locally in Swinton. Marvel at the workmanship that created the enormous ornate Rhino vase, incredibly made in one piece!

Rhinocerous vase

The Walker Kitchen

Relax in the Walker Kitchen and enjoy the short films.
This vibrant space will also be used for events and activities, keep an eye out for our up to date activity programme.

Walker Kitchen


The Library Gallery

The library gallery focuses on what the museum has collected since it first opened in 1893. We look back to our roots of showing art and items from local societies and wealthy individuals, to objects collected from around the world, to our current focus of the story of Rotherham Borough and all its people and communities.

Gold image for Library gallery



The Lion's Den

The Lion’s Den focuses on our most beloved exhibit, Nelson the Lion. He has been given his own gallery, with the focus on families and young children.

Crawl through our baobab tree, or listen to Nelson roar. This is one of our most popular exhibits

Lions den

See what times we are open

The Museum and some attractions have individual opening times.