The museum houses much important social and local history material relating to domestic and rural life, crafts, trade and childhood.
The museum also has major holdings of archaeological material, photographs, costume and ephemera. In all, over 35,000 objects are held by the museum.
Much of the original collection came mainly from the Coles family. This included stock from the ironmonger's shop housed within the building from 1872 to 1960 and further stock from the adjacent stationer's shop which had closed in 1872. This was complemented by a significant bequest of objects and photographs collected by local doctor and historian Sir Ernest Kaye le Fleming during the earlier 20th century - originally deposited at the Dorset County Museum in 1946, pending the opening of a museum in Wimborne Minster.
The collection has been further enhanced since 1962 by a process of donations, bequests and purchases.
The archaeology collection
The archaeology collection is of significance, as it includes material recovered from the late prehistoric and Romano-British site at Tarrant Hinton during excavations by members of the museum in the 1960s and 1970s.
This collection includes early evidence of tuberculosis within human remains, one of only two Romans pumps known in Britain, along with examples of rare wall plaster and significant Iron Age and Roman pottery.
Victorian Valentine cards
A collection of Victorian Valentine cards, mainly unsold shop stock from the stationers, has been identified to be of national importance.