The Museum was founded by Charles Gore in 1919 as a place to display his extensive geological collections. Gore was the first curator of the museum and the collections were built up following the fashions of the time, focussing on broad themes rather than local connections. He acquired natural history, egyptological and ethnographic collections, along with archaeological materials. Through time the collections have become more focussed on Swindon and the surrounding areas and we hold objects dating from prehistory to the present showing the development of the area and the people who lived in it.
In 1941 the art collection was established by an impressive donation of 21 works by a local businessman HJP Bomford. This collection has been built on and today Swindon Museum and Art Gallery (Swindon MAG) owns a modern art collection of outstanding quality and importance. In addition we also hold an excellent collection of studio ceramics and a number of local artworks.
Objects which are not on display are cared for in storage. We hope to showcase the stored collections through an on going programme of temporary exhibitions.
Collections Development Policy
This policy deals with the collections of Swindon MAG and sets out to explain why we collect, what we collect, and how we want to acquire new material. The Collections Development Policy was formally approved on the 11th April 2016 and is available to download.
If you would like to consult our collections for research, whether academic or for your own interest, we will do our best to help. In the first instance please complete this Researcher Form and email it to SwindonMAG@swindon.gov.uk . Please keep in mind that access to our stored collections may be restricted by limitations on staff time and working space. Requests made in a timely manner are more likely to be accommodated.
For more information about research, including copyright and reproduction charges, the Access and Research Policy can be downloaded here.
The Museum and Art Gallery accepts objects which meet the criteria outlined in our Collections Development Policy (see above). If you have an object you wish to donate, please email SwindonMAG@swindon.gov.uk for an Object Donation form or download the form here. Please note: you must be the legal owner (or acting under instruction from the legal owner) of an item in order to donate it to the Museum and Art Gallery.