Collections policy, donations and enquiries

Great Yarmouth Museums' donation and collection policy

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 yarmouth.museums@norfolk.gov.uk 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 contact is made with the local library yarmouth.lib@norfolk.gov.uk and the Norfolk Records Office www.archives.norfolk.gov.uk. There are also lots of online resources via Ancestry.co.uk 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 holds over 190,000 searchable online records covering many aspects of our collections.