Founded in 1893 Horsham Museum Society collected mainly by donation rather than purchase. This led to diverse collections that reflected aspects of local and national history and culture. This pattern continued until 1974 when Horsham District Council took over the Museum and it was only in 1990 was a collecting policy adopted. Since that time collecting has been more focused, in line with the needs of the local community.
Since 1996 the museum has been rationalising the collections in an ad hoc manner. In 2006 the decision was taken to rationalise the collection systematically by conducting a retrospective documentation project, beginning in January 2007. Volunteer teams have been working on various parts of the collection, under guidance from staff. They have systematically looked at every item under the basic idea of "would we take this item in today if we were offered it?" If no, we then investigate further whether we should retain it.
The Museum has many diverse collecting areas. The following are just an example of them:
- 26000 documents dating back to the 12th century
- 1400 posters
- Approximately 6000 photographs and slides of the town and district
- 1000 ethnographic items including weaponry from abroad
- 750 books relating to Shelley and his circle
- Over 500 paintings and prints of the town and district
- Archaeological collections spanning from Palaeolithic to post medieval
- Over 20 historic bicycle.
- More than 1000 Ceramic items
- 500 toys and dolls
- Excess of 3000 items of costume and 500 items of costume accessories
- 5000 items relating to domestic and rural life.
- 5000 items relating to saddlery and lorinery
We have a large photographic archive that chronicles the changing appearance of the town from the mid nineteenth century to the present; a wealth of documents and manuscripts produced by local organisations, business and individuals. A selection of books published on the locality; and numerous ephemera items from the past 200 years that illustrate various town events.
All of these items are available to view. We ask that you contact us to book a session giving at last three days notice, quoting the accession number and/or the manuscript number if given in the listings.
Information about our collections can be found on the right hand lower menu and we hope to add more information about the collections the more they are worked upon.