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Our Collections

Our Collections

The Museum was founded by Charles Gore in 1919 as a place to display his extensive geological collections. Gore was the first curator of the museum and the collections were built up following the fashions of the time, focussing on broad themes rather than local connections. He acquired natural history, egyptological and ethnographic collections, along with archaeological materials. Through time the collections have become more focussed on Swindon and the surrounding areas and we hold objects dating from prehistory to the present showing the development of the area and the people who lived in it.

Wallis ship amid tall waves


In 1941 the art collection was established by an impressive donation of 21 works by a local businessman HJP Bomford. This collection has been built on and today Swindon Museum and Art Gallery (Swindon MAG) owns a modern art collection of outstanding quality and importance. In addition we also hold an excellent collection of studio ceramics and a number of local artworks.

Objects which are not on display are cared for in storage. We hope to showcase the stored collections through an on going programme of temporary exhibitions.

Collections Development Policy

This policy deals with the collections of Swindon MAG and sets out to explain why we collect, what we collect, and how we want to acquire new material. The Collections Development Policy was formally approved on the 11th April 2016 and is available to download.

Research Enquiries

If you would like to consult our collections for research, whether academic or for your own interest, we will do our best to help. In the first instance please email Please keep in mind that access to our stored collections may be restricted by limitations on staff time and working space. Requests made in a timely manner are more likely to be accommodated.

For more information about research, including copyright and reproduction charges, the Access and Research Policy can be downloaded here.

Object Donations

If you have an object, photograph or archive item of historical interest, which relates to our collection, and would like to donate it to Swindon Museum and Art Gallery then please contact us by e-mail:

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery has established a set of guidelines relating to items brought in for donation. These are designed to safeguard the rights of donors and to ensure that a high quality service is provided.

We appreciate all offers to donate items to the collection. However we are unable to accept all of these, as the collections have been developing for many years and may already include very similar items.

We are unable to advise on the financial value of items.