There are around 2,000 printed documents and manuscripts in the permanent collection, mostly related to local history. Documents related to the museum itself are kept separately, see the Museum Archive.
Among the earliest additions to the collection were documents collected by local historian John Allen and displayed to celebrate the Burnley Corporation Jubilee in 1911. In 1924, Lord O'Hagan donated a portfolio of drawings of Towneley Hall. The inventories up to 1938 recorded 63 framed notices and plans and 40 unframed items.
Work to add documents to the accession registers began in 1975 when the inventory identified around 500 additional documents. The sequence of entries from DOMA1 through to DOMA760 was arbitrary bearing no relation to the probable date when the item was acquired. Subsequently, in 1980, around another 100 documents were found in the hall during preparation for an ephemera exhibition.
There is a great variation in the relevance of documents within the collection, ranging from the record of masses said in Towneley Chapel in 17th C. ( doma0422 ) to a collection of magazines from the 1930s with no relevance to local history ( doma987-1027 ). There is also a great variation in the condition with some 20th century printed items due to the acidic paper, see The Deterioration and Preservation of Paper: Some Essential Facts .
The collection is recorded in the Modes database with a Object Identity template name of amuse_DOMA.