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Mail :
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
Phone :
01752 304774
Email :
Fax :
01752 304775


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Designated as an Outstanding Collection logo

Image of object relating to the bringing the world to Plymouth gallery

The Collections

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. The Museum preserves and displays these collections for the enjoyment of the city’s residents and visitors.

Collecting objects

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.

You can find out more about some of our new acquisitions, including a new craft piece acquired through 'Art Fund Collect'.

For further details on our current collecting priorities, please read our Collections Policy below.

Collecting 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.

Sharing information

Museum staff and visitors also research the collections and publish information about them in a number of ways. For more detailed information about the collections visit the following pages:

Visit our wordpress site to see what we're blogging about. See more behind the scenes from our 'Stories from the Stores' and 'Cottonian furniture' projects.

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 Your Paintings to see our entire permanent oils collection. Your Paintings was created by the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF), in partnership with the BBC.

Volunteer for us!

There are lots of ways you can help with our collections work, from cataloguing photographs to the conservation of 'pickled' sea creatures. To find out more visit our volunteers page for current volunteer opportunities.

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. They also provide enjoyment and inspiration for museum visitors.

Like most large collections the museum displays a proportion of its artefacts in the public spaces, both as long-running exhibitions and themed, temporary exhibitions.

Loans policy

Loan in

We receive 'loans in' from the collections of other institutions and individuals, where they will promote access and increase knowledge and understanding. We undertake to provide at least the same care for borrowed objects as if they were part of the permanent collections. The assumption is against long-term 'loans in' (except where these are accepted as key items for display in long-life galleries).

Loans out

We lend out artefacts from our collections to promote access, increase knowledge and understanding and to support other museums.

However the service is undertaking a project to triple the size of the existing museum by spring 2020. During the first phase we are preparing all the museum’s 1 million collections to be moved so the building work can start. To meet the deadline of summer 2016 to vacate the building, we need to focus all our attention on this preparatory work now.

The fact that our collections are becoming increasingly less accessible as they are packed for the move also means we are unfortunately unable to facilitate loans to other organisations during 2016 and 2019 when our collections will return to the new building. Loan requests submitted for any period of 2017 to 2018 will be considered on an individual basis.

Further information on the Plymouth History Centre project and the opportunity to sign up to our newsletter is available on the Love our Past website.