About Us

The Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library are jointly managed by Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council.

We are proud guardians of our founders’ intention, inscribed on the outside of the building which states that:

The mental riches you may here acquire abide with you always’


The Harris is at a transformative point in its history, embarking on a journey to Re-imagine the Harris.

Our Victorian founders’ vision was that the Harris Free Library, Museum & Art Gallery would be the focus of culture, arts and learning, an embodiment of aspirations in late 19th century Preston.
Re-imagining the Harris is inspired by those founders’ early ambitions, whilst also responding to the needs of the people of the city and the region for the next generation. It is led by the Re-imagining the Harris Project Leader, who is jointly employed by the two Councils.

Through the project we are bringing the museum and library together as a single service, developing community-led approaches to our programme and will deliver a major capital development by 2025. We have a new vision, rooted in our Victorian origins and in Preston and Lancashire as centres of innovation and making:

Joyful Making. At the Harris everyone can celebrate our creative cultural past, present and future.

Our aim is to create a seamless, high-quality offer, with audience led museum, art gallery and library services and cultural activities presenting the Grade 1 listed building and its collections more effectively. Early successes include increasing visitor figures, popular family-friendly exhibitions, an increasingly diverse events programme and Makerspace in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), a range of sold out live music events and becoming a founder member of the British Library’s Living Knowledge Network.


The Harris today

Harris Fine Art Gallery photo

The Harris today and our vision for the future

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The history of the Harris

Photo of outside of Harris building

The early days of the Harris Free Public Library and Museum.

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Architecture of the Harris building

Photo of the balconies Inside the Harris

Discover more about this striking, Grade 1 Listed, Neo-Classical building

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The Roll of Honour

Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum & Art Gallery

Remembering those who gave their lives in the First World War

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Preston's Museums

 Red double-decker busLet us guide you through a jam-packed family day out!


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VAQAS Logo 2017