The Wright collection is one of the museum's founding collections
Herbert Wright was a weaver in Burnley who won a National Scholarship in biology at the Royal College of Science (Imperial College) from Burnley Mechanics Institute. He was Scientific Adviser to the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Ceylon in April 1902 when he donated the first gift accepted at Towneley for the museum. It was a case of 51 birds from Ceylon.
In 1903 he sent five more cases illustrating the Fauna and Flora and economic products of the island, together with examples of the handicrafts of the people of the island, as well as of the Boer prisoners recently confined there.
He went on to a successful career in the rubber industry before becoming chairman of the Executive Council of Imperial College, London. He was knighted in 1930.
The birds from Ceylon were displayed in the Long Gallery Room V until 1923. The curios that arrived in 1903 were on display for over 50 years, first in Long Gallery Room VI and then from the 1930s in Natural History Room V on the first floor of the North wing.
The collection other than minerals, which were added to the Minerals collection, was formally recorded in the accession registers around 1974. As of August 2016 the Wright collection has not been added to the Modes database. The pages from md17 covering the Wright collection can be downloaded as a pdf from www.atoz.myzen.co.uk/museum/downloads.
In 2002, part of the Wright collection, including some of the birds, contributed to the displays in the Collectors Room.