The Museum, Archives and Local Studies Collections

What are the Museum Collections?

The museum collections at Experience Barnsley are a fascinating variety of objects dating from prehistoric times to the present day. The archaeology collections were brought back to Barnsley from neighbouring museum services in Doncaster and Sheffield in 2012 as part of the Experience Barnsley project. The collection includes a Roman bracelet and coin hoards, prehistoric tools, medieval glass and gargoyles, and evidence from the borough's industries. The collection of social and industrial history objects have been donated by the people of Barnsley, mainly since 2010 when collecting for the new museum began. This generosity has brought together an amazing mix of material and memories of life in the borough. 

What are the Archives?

Archives are records made or received and accumulated by an individual or organisation, and saved because of their historical value. They are primary sources, the raw material of history, unique and irreplaceable. Coming in many forms, shapes and sizes - individual documents, files, volumes, tapes, microfilms, emails, cine films, CDs, photographs, maps, plans and electronic documents - they help us to understand how an area developed and how our ancestors lived.

What is Local Studies?

The archive collections are complimented by the local studies collections. These include books, maps, newspapers, pamphlets, ephemera, trade directories, aerial photography and secondary material that relates to the borough, and which has been collected by Barnsley Libraries for over 120 years. Many of our local studies resources are available on an open access basis in the Discovery Centre.

 What types of records do we have? 

* Business records

* Local authority records

* Parish council records

* Family & estate records

* Group & society records

* Hospital & healthcare records

* Maps & plans

* Newspapers & periodicals

* Photographs & illustrations

* Poll books & electoral registers

* Printed books relating to Barnsley & Yorkshire

* School & education records

* Street & trade directories

* Anglican church records

* Methodist & nonconformist records

* Parish magazines

* Police records

* Motor vehicle licensing records

* Indexes of births, marriages & deaths

* Census returns

* Cemetery records

What can you use these records for?

The records are used for a wide variety of reasons, including family history research, school projects or even legal disputes. Many of our users delve into archives to explore their family history - to find out who their ancestors were, where they lived, where they worked and how they lived their lives. Others are interested in the history of their local area. What did it look like a century ago? How has it developed? Some researchers want to look at the history of their house. How old is it? What was on the site before it was built? Our records might enable you to answer some of these questions. Students and academics also use our records during the course of their research, using a mix of printed material and original archives.


To make an enquiry about the collection or to offer items to the museum, please email

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Experience Barnsley

Barnsley football team

Barnsley football team with the FA Cup, 1912

Experience Barnsley

Arthur Bower

Arthur Bower with his wooden rattle which he took to the first Barnsley football match in 1948

Experience Barnsley

Barnsley's first station

Barnsley's first station in Cudworth, 1840

Experience Barnsley

Dave Allemby

London 2012 Olympics touchbearer Dave Allenby

Experience Barnsley

Glass epergne

Glass epergne made by Wood Brothers for the 1851 Great Exhibition in London

Experience Barnsley

Barrow Colliery Disaster

Barrow Colliery Disaster remembrance card, 1907

Experience Barnsley

Roman coin of Crispina

Roman coin of Crispina, wife of Commodus, AD 180-183

Experience Barnsley


Helmet worn by women on the picket lines against pit closures in 1984

Experience Barnsley

McLintocks linen advert

McLintocks linen advert from the 1870s

Experience Barnsley

Bryony Nixon

Bryony Nixon with her school shirt signed by all friends on the last day of school.