The photograph collection contains over 2,800 catalogued photos plus 20 photo albums with over 500 photographs, 8 boxes containing over 300 glass negatives and two groups of around 120 stereoscopic cards that have not been individually catalogued. Most of the photographs depict local people or local places and events.
The first photograph donated to the museum, The Opening of Towneley Park, 1902, was given in March 1903. The collection was built up over many years by individual gifts with little or no information as to the name of the photographer.
The collection was only added to the Accession Registers in 1975, when the photographs were sorted to begin the object number sequence from ph1 with large unframed photographs of individuals and groups,continuing with post card and visiting card size portraits. Particular groups of people such as mayors, town clerks and members of parliament were listed in sequence. Further photographs were sorted according to subject such as military, industry and transport and buildings. Finally stereoscopic photos, albums and glass negatives and positives were added, to end with a single daguerrotype as ph1455. Further photographs were than added mainly according to date of acquisition, the last being added in 1994.
The collection is recorded in the Modes database with a Object Identity template name of amuse_PH. As of 2016, only 240 entries have associated digital images.