The founding collections in the Museum consist of non-local natural history, archaeology, geology and ethnography. Now that the direction of collecting has changed these are only added to if there is a strong local connection to justify acquisition. More recently the Museum collections have developed to become an important local/social history resource representing all aspects of life in every part of the Borough.
The museum’s social history objects fall into the categories of clothing & textiles, commemorative items, ceramics, domestic items, furniture, medicine, religion, retail, sport & leisure, tobacco, toys & games, trades & professions, war, weights & measures, writing & papers. Some objects from the collections are of significant historical importance, such as a Thomas Lees long case clock, George III Spade Guineas, Sir Robert Peel’s cradle, Bronze Age urns, a Roman bracelet and coins, 2 Celtic heads, Hutchinson family furniture, African ivories, Wedgwood vases and one hundred and fifty pieces of Pilkington’s Royal Lancastrian pottery.
There are around 60,000 objects in Bury’s collections and the collections continue to grow steadily usually by gift, with around 100 acquisitions each year.