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Museum collections

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Since 1923, Wakefield Museums and Castles has collected over 110,000 fascinating objects that illustrate the history of the Wakefield District from the distant past to the present day. Our collections are full of stories and treasures: from a Guyanese caiman to sweet-filled glass walking sticks; from the UK’s first secret ballot box to the oldest wall-mounted post box; from rhubarb and liquorice to coal mining and glass making; and from rugby league to the locally made 1966 World Cup footballs.

Visit our Discover the Extraordinary blog to see more from our collection and explore resources created for you to enjoy at home or at school. 

Offers of donation

We are always on the lookout for objects to add to our collections that tell a story about the Wakefield area, its many communities, industries, and its individual residents. A large proportion of what we already have has come directly from people and families living in or linked to the area, and it covers both historic and present day objects.

We very much appreciate and encourage offers of donations from our local community. If you would like to donate an item to the collection, please download the object donation form and email the completed form with photographs of the item(s), where possible, to museums@wakefield.gov.uk. A member of the Collections Team will be in touch to discuss your offer within 20 working days.

Please be aware that we are guided by a collections development policy and base our decision on our existing collections, our collecting priorities, current legislation and Council policy.

Please note that our Front of House Teams are unable to accept donations brought in to the Museums or sent by post without prior arrangement being made with the Collections Team.

Collections Enquiries

If you have a question about our collection or would like our assistance with research, please email museums@wakefield.gov.uk and our Collections Team will do their best to help you. Please note we receive a lot of enquiries and are not always able to provide an immediate response. We aim to respond to enquiries within 20 working days.

Please be aware we cannot provide valuations for your objects. For valuation advice, please contact an auction house or antiques dealer.

Reminiscence boxes

​We now have five museum reminiscence boxes available for loan through the library service.The boxes contain a collection of multi-sensory objects, including photographs, smells and sounds. Most of the items are authentic, some are modern reproductions, but all of them can be handled.

More information

Collections Online

At any one time we are only able to display a small percentage of the objects at our three museums and two castles across Wakefield District. The online catalogues below are a way for you to see those objects that may not be on display. We hope you enjoy searching the collections.