Ilfracombe Museum welcomes researchers during opening hours. Research is self-guided but the museum manager can give assistance and advice if contacted in advance. The first 20 minutes of staff time to produce the material required is free, after that period any staff time is costed at £15.00 per hour pro-rata.  Internet enquiries will also be charged at the same rate. Copies of some material can be made for a small charge.

Not all material is available for research so please contact us to ensure access to our archives is available particularly if there is something specific you wish to see. Access is limited on Saturdays.

Here is an overview of the scope of our collection

  • Photographs, paintings, engravings and other pictures of local interest.
  • Domestic social items – ceramics, glass, metalwork, wooden items, dolls, toys and costume.
  • Agricultural items – mainly hand-tools.
  • Cobbler’s, printer’s and other craftsmen’s tools and equipment.
  • Clocks, watches, surveying instruments and other scientific equipment.
  • Coins, tokens and medals.
  • Maritime history items relating to Ilfracombe and elsewhere, including ship models.
  • Militaria from the Civil War to World War 11 including firearms and edged weapons.
  • Ethnographic items including collections from South America, Africa and Asia.
  • Archaeological material local and non-local.
  • Geological material, minerals and fossils local and non-local.
  • Mounted British and non-British reptiles, birds and mammals (including old specimen game heads and some new educational displays of British species).
  • An important collection of British Bats preserved in fluid and cabinets of British and non-British birds eggs.
  • Cabinets of butterflies, moths, beetles, shells and other invertebrates British and non-British.
  • Herbaria including pressed flowering plants, ferns and seaweed;
  • Archives of books, documents and papers relating to the area of interest, mainly available for reference rather than display, including a collection of bound copies of Ilfracombe newspapers 1871 – 1953.