Collecting Leicestershire Life

Since 1849, we have been collecting and documenting objects reflecting the life, interests and history of Leicestershire people and places. We have around one million objects relating to the people, places, natural history and archaeology of Leicestershire within our collections. Although only a small proportion can be on display at any time, our collections are used on a daily basis by students, researchers, volunteers, artists and anyone with an interest in them. The vast majority of the items in the collections have been given by local individuals, families, organisations or businesses.

Coins from the Hallaton Treasure. © University of Leicester Archaeological Services

Our History

The Leicestershire County Council Museum collections were formed from the core collections of the Leicester Town (and later City) Museum (which date from 1849 onwards) and the Melton Mowbray Museum. In the 1930s a Schools Loans collection was created. Between 1974 and 1997 Leicestershire County Council Museums, Arts & Records Service (LMARS) had responsibility for museums in Leicester, Leicestershire and the historic county of Rutland. Active collecting continued throughout this period and the collections grew in size and the curatorial departments increased in numbers of staff and focus of specialisation.
In 1997 subsequent reform of local government in Leicestershire gave unitary status to Leicester City and to Rutland and effectively formed three museum services, one for each authority area. Since then, our collecting has focussed on the life of the County of Leicestershire.

Our Vision
We see a Leicestershire with a rich history that values its heritage, engages its communities, welcomes those who visit the county, and works together to ensure a future for the past.


What We Collect and Why

Our acquisition policy is -

To collect and record the natural life of the County of Leicestershire and to reflect the histories, interests and aspirations of the people who have made it their home and place of work.


We do this by working closely with the Museum Services of Leicester City Council, Rutland County Council and the many independent museums across Leicestershire. Archives are collected by The Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Over the years, many different things have shaped how our collections have developed. 

The vast majority of the items in the collections have been given by local individuals, families, organisations or businesses. If you are considering making a donation to the museum collections, please contact us to discuss it further.

We have also purchased collections with the assistance of various funds including The ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Art Fund, Friends of Leicester and Leicestershire Museums and Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society.

We hope that this site will give you a taste of the rich and varied collections that we hold.

Please explore some of them in our gallery, our current online exhibition and see the work we do behind the scenes.