A new exhibition, opening later this month at the Science and Industry Museum, celebrates the region’s most influential record label. Tickets are available now for Use Hearing Protection, which charts the early years of Factory Records (1978 – 1982). Visitors will be guided through the story of those pre-Haçienda days, exploring how post-industrial Manchester allowed the company to spearhead innovation in music and design. It was due to open last year but the organisers have used the additional time to expand the content of the show. So, there are plenty of things to see – and below are just five of the best.

Get up close to key Factory artefacts

50 key Factory artefacts will be on display for visitors to explore at Use Hearing Protection, including the iconic poster for the label’s inaugural concert, designed by Peter Saville. Other standouts include album covers for Joy Division and The Durutti Column and objects related to New Order.

Learn the history with Amplified Stories

Objects aside, this exhibition also sheds some light on the people who played important but lesser-acknowledged roles in Factory’s formation. Showcased are five women who were there at the very beginning: Lindsay Reade, Lesley Gilbert, Gillian Gilbert, Ann Quigley, and the artist Linder.

See Ian Curtis’s iconic guitar

The white Vox Phantom guitar owned by Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis was often played in concert and you may recognise it from the official video for ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. Find it on public display for the first time in over 30 years at this new exhibition.

Get involved with concert and studio experiences

It’s not all objects and artefacts. Use Hearing Protection will also transport visitors back in time via a ‘Gig Room’, featuring large-scale projections of early live performances. Bring your own headphones and you can also play along with a classic mixing desk and synthesiser.

Explore Jon Savage's private Joy Division memorabilia

Throughout the exhibition there will be items from journalist Jon Savage’s extensive personal collection of Joy Division artefacts. You’ll also find objects on loan from the estates of label boss Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton – the former manager of Joy Division and New Order.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Sat 19 Jun - Mon 3 Jan, 10am-5pm (Wed-Sun), Science and Industry Museum,
Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4FP
, Tel: 0330 058 0058, £8, £6 (Conc.), Under-12s free
A. James Simpkin
Published on:
Thu 10 Jun 2021