Museum Collections

The Museum is committed to collecting material evidence of life in the North-West region. The Museum holds the third largest collection in Tasmania, including some 400,000 photographs and negatives! Many major figures in the fascinating history of Burnie and the surrounding region are represented in these treasure troves.

The Museum’s original collection was purchased from Peter Mercer (OAM, AMAA) by the Burnie City Council in 1970. Peter had been amassing his private collection since 1942, from the tender age of 7 ½. He was an avid collector of authentic pieces from across the North-West region and his collection forms the basis of the Federation Street exhibition, Australia’s first indoor historic streetscape.

Since the Museum became a public institution in 1971, the collection has grown considerably and now represents much more than what is on display in the Federation Street, which accounts for a mere 20% of the collection.  The museum holds many special and unique items in its archival collections, including some 400,000 photographic negatives!  Many major figures in the fascinating history of Burnie are represented in these treasure troves. 

These collections are not on display, however they are available for viewing for study and research purposes by appointment and are exhibited at the Museum from time to time.