A collections development policy helps to shape the museum’s collections by guiding acquisition and disposal. The policy is led by the museum’s statement of purpose. It describes the history of the collections and the collections as they are now, as well as giving an overview on the priorities for development. The policy references the commitment from the museum to ensure and maintain the legal and ethical development of the collections.
In 1974, Burnley Borough Council authorised the first detailed collections development policy for Towneley. Over the years it has changed, for example a proposal to collect horse drawn vehicles was quickly discarded, but the main aim of developing Towneley Hall and its attractions as a Country House by preserving the building in its original state wherever possible, and by furnishing the room, in period, has remained unchanged. A copy of the 1974 version of the collections development policy is available as a pdf from www.atoz.myzen.co.uk/museum/downloads.
As early as 1922, it was determined that none of exhibits at Towneley were to be disposed of by way of exchange or sale. For more on the Towneley's current collection development policy refer to the curator.