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Donating objects

Most of the museum's collection is built up from people donating items to the museum. We're very grateful for all offers of donation.

Unfortunately, we can't accept everything which we're offered. We have to use our space and resources wisely. If we already have an example of an object we will not duplicate it and we can only collect things with a good Norfolk connection.

If you would like to offer an item for donation email Include as much information about the item as possible including how you acquired it. Include a photo and dimensions as this will help us to make our decision.

One of our curatorial team will get back to you but this may take some time while we check our existing collections and work through the large number of offers we respond to.

Please don't bring your items into a museum without an appointment. We don't want you to have a wasted journey.

Great Yarmouth Museums

Time and Tide, Tolhouse Gaol and Elizabethan House.

We understand the enthusiasm of our users, who often have interesting or unusual objects they feel would make a perfect addition to our exhibitions and displays.

Museum storage space is very limited, and this is a severe constraint on the future collection of material.

All requests for donation will be sent to Norfolk Museum Service Acquisitions Committee, which meets on a monthly basis.

We need to make sure that we have the best provision to look after the objects already within our collection, ensuring that it will be available to future generations.

We only collect examples of objects which tell strong stories of Great Yarmouth and the surrounding borough.  We will always consider whether we have better examples of objects within in our collections before acquiring new items.

If you would like the acquisitions committee to consider an object for donation please email with as many details as possible and an image.

No donations can be left at the museum without prior consent of the curator.

What we collect and why

  • Family history - we cannot complete any family history investigations. We recommend that you contact your local library and the Norfolk Records Office. There are also lots of online resources via and Find My Past. Unfortunately we do not hold any crew lists from any ships/boats in the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston area.
  • Costume and textiles - any additions to our already large collection of costume and textiles will be made in collaboration with the NMS Costume and Textiles department in Norwich.
  • Social History - items with direct links to the lives of people in Great Yarmouth, and items relating to local trades and industries will be considered.
  • Maritime history - we can only consider items that have direct links to the maritime heritage of Great Yarmouth.
  • Fine art - local artists of regional significance, along with works of local topography and marine art will be considered.
  • Decorative arts - items with direct local connection will be considered.
  • Archaeology - collecting is restricted to the acceptance of small finds, in consultation with the NMS Archaeology department in Norwich. Areas of particular interest include pre-Roman settlement, especially Burgh Castle and Caister, and medieval urban areas.
  • Natural history - collecting is restricted to mounted birds and other specimens related to the local area, as well as small geological finds.
  • Ethnography - this collection is now closed for further items.
  • Books and printed material - we do not collect book and printed materials. The Library Service have extensive collections of newspapers and other publications that can be accessed by members of the public, both online and in person.
  • Photographs and negatives - all acquisitions are discussed with the Library Service, as they have a remit for collecting photos. Picture Norfolk is a photographic record of Norfolk life.

We do have an extensive maritime and social archive within our collections at the Time & Tide, and is available to view by appointment.

The Norfolk Museums Collections online database holds over 190,000 searchable online records covering many aspects of our collections.

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