Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery has been actively collecting since 1897. Our fantastic collections have grown due to the generosity of generations of Plymothians who have donated objects.
We hold locally excavated archaeology and some really fabulous finds.
The outstanding Cottonian Collection is an internationally important collection of paintings, books, prints, ceramics, bronzes and sculpture
The decorative art collection contains ceramics, glass, furniture, costume and textiles, silver and contemporary craft.
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery has a large and important fine art collection.
The Maritime and City Heritage collections cover different aspects of the city’s history and relationship with the sea.
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery cares for over 150,000 natural history specimens
Spanning the last 150 years, these unique collections reflect Plymouth's changing cityscape.
A wide range of objects reflecting the domestic, working, religious and social life of Plymouth people and beyond.
Over 4,000 objects that have been collected from across the world.
Take a closer look at some of the highlights in our collections.
Whilst the City Museum and Art Gallery’s building has now closed for the development of The Box, some of our collections are now on display in other venues.
Our collections form the basis for study and research by students, personal and professional researchers, fellow curators and specialists from the region and beyond.
We continue to add to the collections today and welcome donations. We also purchase items important to Plymouth heritage. This work is dependent on the continued support of generous donors, the Friends of the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and national grant-giving bodies. See our collections policies for details on our current collecting priorities.
Collecting and sharing information
We are keen to add to the information and knowledge we have about the collections and the history of the city. If you know something about objects in our galleries or one of our collections online, please get in touch.
Visit our collections database to search our photographic collections, social history, Cottonian furniture and silver collections. For more collections see our existing online catalogues or visit the Art UK website to see our permanent collection of oils online.
We also research the collections, often publishing information and blogging about what we’re working on. Staff regularly work with teams across the council to help improve city heritage for the public through trails and interpretation panels.
Use of Collections
Our collections form the basis for study and research by school children, students, personal and professional researchers, fellow curators and specialists from the region and beyond. We receive ‘loans in’ from other collections and also lend out, where it will help to promote access and knowledge. Please see our current Loans policy for more information, as we’re undertaking a major redevelopment project.