Barnsley's collections are an inspiring variety of historical material and works of art. At Experience Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre, original archives, photographs, sound, film, archaeology and social and industrial history collections tell the story of Barnsley from prehistoric times to the present day.

We are working towards making all our collections searchable online so we can share them with you and help with whatever subject you are interested in. Currently the online catalogue is limited to sections of the archive collection and a selection of fine art from the Cooper Gallery. However, it is updated each week with new content.

To search our fascinating historical collections please visit

For tips on how to make the best of your online catalogue searches please watch the short help video below.

Our 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

We have records donated to us from members of the public, local businesses and groups throughout the year. Take a look at the video below to see some of the recent donations to the Archives.

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Experience Barnsley


This is Frank 'Yank' Lenthall's Nipsy stick. Highly respected player 'Yank' wouldn't give awar any secrets about how he made his sticks. Don Chambers says "You get a house brick, put it on the ground and slightly tilt it back, put your nipsy -shaped like a pigeon's head - on it... then tap it. It flies up in the air and you strike it when it rises." Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley


Barnsley FC's own historian, Arthur Bower, first spun his rattle at the first Barnsley Football Club match at Oakwell in 1949, which was Barnsley's cup tie against Blackpool. Many people took rattles to football matches at this time and often painted them in team colours. Originally, the rattle was used by Arthur's family members in World War II, they worked as Air raid Wardens and would use the rattle to warn residents of the threat of gas attacks. Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley


Timm Cleasby, a photographer from Birdwell, was the Arctic Monkeys' tour manager in their early years. The band famously played Birdwell WMC in the summer of 2005, just a coupe of months before their debut album became the fastest selling debut album in UK chart history, selling 363,735 copies in the first week. The band studied at Barnsley College. Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley


The design of these lead-lined boxes have changed little since the 1860s. They're designed to keep ministerial documents safe. This one belonged to Lord Roy Mason, MP for the Barnsley constituencyfrom 1953 - 1983. Photo © Norman Taylor