Beamish’s collections have been built up over several decades, starting in the late 1950s, with the museum’s founder Frank Atkinson’s policy of “unselective collecting” – “you offer it, we’ll collect it”.
People from across the North East – and further afield – have donated objects which help us tell the story of everyday life in the region.
Visitors can step “behind the scenes” into the Open Store in the Regional Resource Centre and see these fascinating objects in our collections.
Unlike most museums however, our collection, including domestic, rural, transport and industrial objects, aren’t just kept in glass cases, they are already in use and on display around the museum.
Beamish also has about two million photographs, 60,000 books, 10,000 trade catalogues, 30,000 periodicals and thousands of items of ephemera, such as documents, cards, family and business records.