Objects and Stories

About the collection

Our collection is an important part of Cardiff’s heritage and helps us to tell the city’s story, from the earliest times, through the industrial coal boom, to the present day.

Most of the objects, ephemera and photographs we collect have personal stories attached to them, so it is the people who have shaped the city that tell its story.

We are always collecting! We continue to add to our collection to make sure we represent the diversity of Cardiff and its communities, past and present.

We collect items from the past, and from today – contemporary collecting is important to us. Collecting objects and stories from the present means that future generations will know what Cardiff was like today.

Collection online

The Museum of Cardiff collection tells the story of Cardiff and the people who have lived, worked and played here over the centuries.

Collage of objects. Children's Cardiff City football kit. A Yemeni dagger. Two record sleeves, Kinshott of Castle Street Cardiff and Spiller's of Queens Arcade, Cardiff.
Explore the collection online

The copyright of the images and content on this website belongs to Museum of Cardiff and individual holders.  We have tried to make sure that we have contacted and sought permission from rights holders for anything on this website.  Please contact us to let us know of any omissions or errors, and we will make sure they are corrected.

Funded by Welsh Government, and the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales.

Objects and stories

This teapot has crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice.  It was given to Maggie Williams Harris in 1927 as she was about to board a ship at Cardiff Docks that would take her and her young family to Canada to start a new life.  When Maggie’s granddaughter emigrated back to Wales, she brought the teapot with her and donated it to the Cardiff Story.
Wooden clock.
This clock was made by Edward Kaltenbach, probably in the late 1800’s. Edward came to Cardiff from Baden (now part of Germany) and opened a shop as a jeweller and watchmaker in 1866. The shop, on Caroline Street, was lived in and run by the family for 131 years, until his granddaughters finally closed it in 1997.
Veronica Smith’s family moved from Italy to Cardiff in the 19th Century.  This tambourine belonged to Veronica’s grandmother, who played it with her husband to earn money as they travelled from Italy to Cardiff, walking over the Alps as they came.  Like many other Italian families they settled in Adamsdown.

How to donate an object or story

Thinking of donating an item to the collection? Please read the following for advice on what to do.

What do we collect?

We collect material with a strong link to Cardiff’s history and preferably items that have personal stories and memories associated with them.

Information to provide to the Cardiff Story Museum

When you contact us it would be helpful if you could provide the following:

  • Background information – Brief summary including any personal stories and how the object relates to Cardiff’s history
  • How you acquired the item
  • Dates associated with the item
  • A photograph of the item
  • Please tell us if you have any photographs of the object in use
  • The condition of the item

Reasons why we might not be able to accept your donation:

Whilst we greatly appreciate offers of donation, it is not always possible for us to accept everything offered.  Reasons why we might not accept include:

  • We already have a similar item in the collection
  • We don’t have enough space to store it
  • The item is more appropriate to another heritage organisation
  • The item is in poor condition and would be difficult to conserve
  • There is little associated information or no link to Cardiff’s history
  • It does not fit with our collection policy

If we do not accept your object for the core collection we may ask if your object can be used in our handling collection to assist our learning and outreach work.

Every item is considered carefully by the curatorial staff in relation to our collection policy and existing collections.

Please note:

We are unable to give valuations

We do not usually accept items on long-term loan

We cannot accept hazardous items unless there are compelling reasons to do so.

Hazardous items include firearms, objects containing asbestos, explosives, flammable, poisonous, potentially carcinogenic or radioactive material.

How to get in touch

Email: cardiffstory@cardiff.gov.uk with ‘object donation’ in the subject line.

Write to: FREEPOST RSGA-BYBX-AJYE, The Cardiff Story, The Old Library, Trinity Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BH

Please do not send the item to us, as we will not be able to return it.

What happens next?

Once you have contacted us, a member of the team will get in touch and we may ask for more information.

Once a decision is reached we will contact you to either accept or decline your offer.  Please note there is currently a back log of object donations and it is taking longer than we would like to process them all.

If your donation is suitable for our collection we will arrange to meet with you to collect the object and we will ask you to sign a transfer of title form, which legally transfers the object into our care.

Personal story donations

Do you have a Cardiff story to tell? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

Email: cardiffstory@cardiff.gov.uk with ‘story donation’ in the subject line.

Write to: FREEPOST RSGA-BYBX-AJYE, The Cardiff Story, The Old Library, Trinity Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BH

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