The collection contains over 400 items, many of uncertain provenance, the most important being around 80 objects donated by William T. Taylor between 1908 and 1913 from India and South America including a Peruvian mummy (E402).
In 1904 Burnley Corporation purchased items from West Africa - spears and a variety of wooden objects. Further items were presented by local people on return from their travels, recorded in inventories as foreign curios. Finally a small collection was transfered from Padiham Museum in 1976.
The collection was formally recorded in the accession registers around 1977 with no further additions. The pages from md16 covering ethnography can be downloaded as a pdf from www.atoz.myzen.co.uk/museum/downloads.
As of August 2018 this collection has not been added to the Modes database.