The Harris today and our vision for the future
Today, the Harris is recognised as one of the leading museums and contemporary art venues in the region. We combine working closely with and for our local community with developing a national and international reputation for quality and innovative programmes. We are a major tourist attraction, welcoming over 250,000 visitors annually.
Since 2005, we have been able to develop our public programmes and make improvements to the galleries, though funding from the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) Renaissance in the Regions programme.
The Harris has also benefited from significant funding from other sources including Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, The Wolfson Foundation, The Art Fund, the DCMS/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, The Headley Trust, PRISM, The Monument Trust, Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Lancashire County Council, the Friends of the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, the Harris Trust and other local funders as well as from private donors.
The Harris collections are among the finest in the region and include objects of national significance.
The collections include over 70,000 objects. Increasing and recording knowledge about the collections is fundamental to our work. We work in partnership with other museums, universities and specialists, employing the latest scientific techniques to uncover the stories behind our objects, for instance to discover details of the origins of ancient human skulls uncovered during the 19th Century Preston Dock excavations.
The Harris collection includes:
- Fine Art - paintings, sculpture, drawings and prints
- Costume and textiles
- Ceramics and glass
- Contemporary Art - paintings, textiles, sculpture and digital media
- Digital media
- History - Preston and beyond
We have an exciting, ambitious, high-profile exhibitions programme showcasing the best in contemporary art as well as items from the Harris’ collections all featuring local, national or internationally-renowned artists.
Contemporary art at the Harris
The Harris has a strong reputation for contemporary art programming including commissioning new work, showing digital media and work from nationally- and internationally-recognised artists.
It’s not just about established artists though. We also want to nurture the next generation of talent, by providing a platform for local, emerging artists to exhibit their work in a dedicated space, perhaps for their first time.
In Certain Places
In Certain Places is an innovative public art project run in partnership with UCLan creating inspirational temporary public artworks and events, examining how artists can contribute to the development of a city.
Over the last seven years, In Certain Places has worked with regional, national and international artists to develop temporary public artworks for the city, hosted artist residencies in empty shops, and organised a series of free public talks about art, place and the city.
Bringing art and history alive for young people
With a dedicated learning team who really understand how to make art and history come alive for kids, the Harris offers both formal learning programmes run with primary, secondary schools and college students, plus a varied programme of ‘hands on’ creative and discovery events at the weekend and in school holidays where kids will learn something new without even realising it!
There’s something for all ages, from toddlers/pre-school children, to events where families with children of all ages can all learn and create together.
For teenagers, there is the chance to unleash their creative side and work towards the highly regarded Arts Award or work with Harris curators on museum projects.
Taking the Harris out into the community
Working with our partners in the local community, we encourage individuals and groups that need extra support to work with us. This work is targeted specifically at young people; vulnerable adults; minority groups and older people (through our Reminiscence programme) and services are provided either at the Harris or off-site in the heart of the community.
We offer a wide range of activities from one-off talks, tours and consultation, to long-term weekly or monthly projects.
All our activities are inspired by our collections and exhibitions and aim to improve social and life skills as well as improving health and well-being.