Our Social History collection covers the largest area in the museum. It’s a fascinating way to see how our society has changed over the years. You can browse hundreds of items broken down into five sections: Toys, Music, Monetary, Domestic and Transport.
Our Toys collection contains around 4,000 objects and dates back to the Georgian and Victorian periods, with the most recent items coming from the 1990s. It covers everything from nostalgic childhood toys to antique dolls and model castles. We are particularly proud to display the Aurora Plastics models from the 1960s, which represent popular culture of the time, figures through history and 60s films.
Music lovers can enjoy looking through over 1,000 historical items and over 600 records, which are mainly focused on the mid-Victorian to late-Edwardian period. We are home to a variety of instruments, including a banjo, bassoon, pianos, organs, harps, mandolin, accordion, violins and zithers. One of our most notable instruments is the Broadwood Georgian Box Piano, as well as the trumpet that was used at the opening of Yarm Viaduct.
Our Monetary collection holds around 2,000 coins, some of which are foreign and some pre-decimal coinage. It includes a number of banknotes from Tees Bank and Stockton Bank from the early 19th century, which ties in nicely with the local theme that runs throughout our collections.
As a society, we don’t often think about how advanced our household appliances are, which is why our Domestic collection surprises many of our visitors. We have around 10,000 appliances, such as cookers, fridges, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, radiators, sink units, sewing machines, toilet bowls, kitchenware, pottery, furniture and more. These date from the Georgian era to the 1980s and it’s a simply fascinating demonstration of how times have changed.
The Transport collection includes a number of carts, carriages, bicycles and auto-mobiles totalling around 50 items. There’s plenty to see from the Brougham Carriage to the Tippen Delta Invalid Carriage, and our bicycles including a locally-made Cougar.