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We couldn’t share the story of Chesterfield without the collection which we hold in trust for the town, caring for it for future generations. Each object has a local connection. They not only reflect Chesterfield’s industrial past but also give an insight into how the town has developed. Personal stories behind the objects tell us how people used to live and their experiences of life in Chesterfield.
The collection is diverse ranging from a donkey engine from Markham’s, the local engineering company that built the machines that bored the Channel Tunnel, to Roman coins left behind centuries ago.
The museum has a large collection of local pottery from functional items to beautiful decorative pieces. It features saltglaze stoneware from Brampton and items from Pearson’s pottery.
A large part of the museum’s collection reflects the story of one of Chesterfield’s longest running companies, Robinson’s. From pill boxes to cardboard packaging and bandages to disposable nappies, Robinson’s were at the forefront of these industries supplying bandages for the Crimean War and World War One and Two. They also developed those good old fashioned Smartie tubes!
The collection includes paintings and artwork by local artists or on local themes. One of the highlights of this part of the collection is the works of Joseph Syddall from Old Whittington who has been called the best draughtsman in England and worked in a range of media from pastels and oils to pencil sketches.
The museum houses the town’s archaeological archives. Finds from local excavations help to interpret Chesterfield’s Roman and Medieval past.