Shropshire Council


Our rich and varied collections are at the heart of our work. The 300,000 specimens and objects that make up our collections have been built up over more than 180 years, largely through the generosity of local people. They cover a wide range of subjects, from local archaeological finds to exotic ethnographic souvenirs. Currently, the focus of our work is caring for the items we already hold. However, where an offer meets our current collecting policy criteria, we'll take an item into our care.

Donating archaeology project archives

If you're an archaeologist/archaeology unit wishing to donate a project archive please contact us for a copy of our current deposition standards and fees.

Making an offer

If you'd like to offer us an item please contact our Curatorial and Collections Team using the contact details on this page. Please provide as much information as possible about the item’s history and condition, including photographs if possible. Any potential acquisition will be considered by our Curatorial Board, and you'll be informed of their decision.


We don't have an acquisition fund, so all purchases are subject to external funding and public subscription. Any agreed purchase would have to meet the criteria set by the grant giving organisations approached to fund a purchase.

The Handling Collection

Some of the objects we collect are made available for students, and also sent out to schools and community groups to borrow. Items selected for our Handling Collection usually
duplicate objects in our existing collection, or have very little historic information associated with them.

Why don't you accept all donation offers?

Not all items offered to us our accepted into our collections. Longterm curation, conservation and storage are very costly. Therefore we're careful to only accept items that
fall within our collecting policy. For example, some objects are too damaged to survive long term. In other cases the item would better complement another museum’s collections, and the offer is forwarded to the more appropriate museum.

Conditions of donation

On donation the absolute ownership of the item is transferred to Shropshire Museums, together with any rights of copyright or reproduction held by the owner in respect to that item, without condition other than that Shropshire Museums will either:

a) hold the items in trust for the benefit of the public in perpetuity as part of our main
collection, or

b) hold items in trust for education purposes as part of a handling collection in accordance with the current provisions of the Arts Council Accreditation Scheme from Museums.

Permanent and long-term loans

We won't accept items on permanent or long-term loan. Public money is often spent on curation and conservation only for an item to be withdrawn from our collections. We also find that lenders lose contact with us over the years. This often leaves items in limbo with no clear ownership. We will accept short term loans.

Will my donation be on permanent display?

We care for over 300,000 objects. Therefore we can't display every item all of the time, and some items would gradually deteriorate under permanent display conditions. Objects that aren't on display are still important resources, and are made available to people in a range of different ways. Some are used for our temporary exhibition programme, others for our educational sessions, and many are studied by people undertaking research.

Things to consider when adding to our collections

  • Make sure you have the legal right or have been granted permission to donate/sell the item in question
  • The more information you can provide the better. We want to record as much about on object as possible. This is part of both the object’s and Shropshire’s history.

To find out more about adding to our collections please contact our Curatorial and Collections Team using the contact details on this page. Further details on our collections management procedures can be found in our collections policy.

Will my donation be acknowledged?

Every donor is asked to complete a receipt form which records who gave which objects to the museum. Each object is then marked with a unique identification number so it can be linked to the information you give us, and to any records we create about it in the future. If you wish to enquire about an item please quote the identification number on your receipt form. This will help us track your donation. If you wish your donation to be anonymous, or would rather your gift was not acknowledged publicly, please tell our staff and we'll ensure your wishes are respected.