From the start there was a need to record the entry of objects into the museum and record the return of loans to their owners. By 1920, the permanent collections were outgrowing the storage space and many of the objects not wanted for display were loaned out to schools. In addition it was common to lodge local sports trophies at Towneley with annual returns for presentations. The attendants needed a diary to keep account of the object movements.

The Museum Archive contains daily diaries from 1926 to 1954. There is also a notebook, md20 , which records the entry and exit of objects in the museum from January 1920 to April 1930. It appears that the notebook is a summary of the contents of the existing diaries, so it is likely that there were originally diaries at least as early as 1920.

Apart from the object entry and exits, the diaries record mainly the cleaning work done by the attendants but also includes work done by tradesmen on maintaining the building. After William Tomlinson was appointed caretaker in 1931, the diaries provide a very detailed account of all aspects of preservation of the collections and the interactions with visitors.

Apart from the attendants' daily diaries, there were other records covering the numbers of visitors and the takings of the museum shop. These together with the notable events from the diaries were recorded for monthly reports to the sub-committee. Three notebooks ( md21 , md22 and md23 ) cover the monthly reports from January 1928 to August 1950.

Author: tk - August 2016