Gallery Oldham opened in 2002 in a contemporary building designed by architects, Pringle Richards Sharratt. The gallery is home to the collections of Oldham Museum and Art Gallery, which first opened to the public in 1883. The majority of the collection was built up during the mid 1800s to the late 1930s. Of particular interest is the Charles E. Lees Collection of oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and engravings, presented to the town in 1888, resulting in fine examples of Victorian and Edwardian art, notably by William Stott of Oldham.
The 20th-century collection includes important works by artists of the Newlyn and St Ives School including Peter Phillips, Terry Frost and Patrick Heron. Oldham has a growing contemporary collection, including works by Yasumasa Morimura, Laura Ford and Alice Maher.
The craft collection features work by leading studio potters of the early 20th-century, over 30 of which were donated by the CAS, including William Staite Murray, Michael Cardew and Lucie Rie. Oldham’s priority is to develop its ceramic collection; recent acquisitions include works by Stephen Dixon, Claire Curneen and Julian Stair as well Lubna Chowdhary and Kerry Jameson, gifted by the Contemporary Art Society from its craft acquisition scheme: the Omega Fund. Items from the permanent collection can often be seen in a number of themed temporary exhibitions throughout the year.