Museum Object and Archival Donations

We have been acquiring items for our collections since 1876 but occasionally gaps do exist.

As a result of this, we do welcome offers of material for our collections.

Bolton’s fantastic Museum, Archive and Local Studies collections have been built up over the past 140 years. We are still collecting to tell stories of Bolton and fill gaps in collections. We welcome offers of donation.

The costs of caring for our collections are high and it is important that we do not duplicate material or objects that fall outside our collecting policy. In view of this, we are not able to accept everything offered to us. Instead, we need to know more about the item(s) being offered before we can decide whether or not they are suitable for the collection.

How to donate

• Contact the Collections team in advance before bringing in your object - that way they can give you an initial assessment as to whether they might be able to take it:

• If possible email a couple of photos with a ruler or tape measure for scale so that we can see what the objects look like

Bobbin and Ruler

It may be that your donation is exactly what we have been looking for as it fits in with our Collections development Policy, is in good condition and has an interesting story to tell. In this case it will be accepted and added into our permanent collections

Or it may be that your object would be useful for education, in which case, with your permission, it would not be added to our permanent collections  but would form part of our valued "handling" collection.

In the situation that we cannot accept your offer, please do not be offended. It could be that we already have a similar example in the collection. It could be that your object is simply too big or that it is of a type that we do not collect (but another museum or archive might). Our staff will be able to advise you in this case.

Hopefully your object is just what we are looking for, although it may not be put on display for some time. The Museum, Archive and Local Studies care for millions of objects, and exhibitions and displays have to be carefully planned, often years in advance.

Meanwhile, your object will be carefully stored and may be drawn upon for special exhibitions or lent for exhibition at other registered institutions. It will also be available for research, study and education purposes.

Please do note that:

• We do not normally accept items on long-term loan.

• Items are not accepted with specific conditions attached.

• Unless there are strong reasons, hazardous objects and substances will not be accepted under any circumstances (eg firearms, objects containing asbestos, explosive, flammable, poisonous, potentially carcinogenic or radioactive material)

• We cannot give the valuation of any object. Please contact an auction house if you require a valuation.

• We are an approved Place of Deposit, more info here: Places of Deposit - Archives sector (