Most of the collection is of local interest and importance but there are some articles of national significance. Malmesbury lace was once much sought after; it was famed as a luxury fashion statement and the museum has a comprehensive collection, not only of the lace but of associated material.
There is a wealth of paintings, engravings, drawings, photographs and other images. Some are very fine; pride of place goes to a drawing of the Market Cross by Tom Girton. Girton was a contemporary of Turner who said 'had Tom lived then had I starved'. There are many images of the Abbey, which illustrate its chequered history, with dilapidation and restoration. Malmesbury's 15th Century Market Cross is well represented, naturally, and there are some wonderful pictures of the town and around.
Malmesbury in Saxon times had a mint and examples of the silver pennies struck there are in the collection as are numerous other coins and tokens.
There is much more of interest; some items are beautiful, some are quirky, some are valuable some are not.
Situated a few minutes away from the historic abbey and Abbey House Gardens, this family friendly museum is located in the town hall facing the main town car park. The newly refurbished museum contains displays of local life and history.
The museum is located within the town hall, sharing an entrance with the Tourist Information Centre. The museum has recently re-opened following a refurbishment project and has new displays on local history, including archaeology, lace making, the town's first fire engine, the abbey, the branch railway, local personalities and much more! The museum is free and welcomes families.
Look out for special family activities during the school holidays.