RAMM invites you on a journey of discovery.
The museum’s online collection database allows you to explore the world from the comfort of your own home.
Collections at RAMM chart the story of the natural world and human creativity over millennia and across the globe, from the fossilised remains of prehistoric life to the very latest work by contemporary artists. The focus of our collection is on Exeter, Devon and their links with the wider world.
You can enjoy the collection by browsing or by choosing to select our collections stories or collectors’ biographies.
RAMM’s collections information includes historic descriptions and representations that are inaccurate, racist and otherwise inappropriate. We believe that it is important to retain and contextualise these historical records, while acknowledging the hurtful legacies in the collections we care for. We ask for your help in identifying offensive or harmful content and welcome your feedback.
Research on the collections at RAMM is ongoing. Sometimes this is undertaken by staff and volunteers. Sometimes it is by academics, external researchers, artists, special interest groups or members of the public. Read about the latest research in our collections blog. Please contact us if you would like to share your own research here.
RAMM’s local archaeology and history collections represent the heritage of almost every community in Exeter, East Devon, Mid-Devon, Teignbridge and parts of the South Hams and Dartmoor. The collections cover most aspects of domestic, social, cultural, religious, economic and political life over the past 300,000 years.
The Costume and Textiles collection illustrates the types of clothes worn by local men, women and children from 1750 to the present day, with some much earlier examples of underwear, accessories and textiles. The collection is strongest in middle/upper class female clothing but is better balanced for more recent periods, including every day and occupational clothes worn by people of all classes in Exeter.
The Decorative Art collection includes clocks, silver, ceramics, glass and metalwork. The silver collection is particularly rich, representing work by significant westcountry goldsmiths and including the Corfield collections of spoons. The ceramics collection includes North Devon pottery, Art Pottery, porcelain and some contemporary Studio Ceramics while the horology collection holds pocket watches, bracket and longcase clocks.
The Fine Art collection includes material from the 16th century to the present. It comprises approximately 500 paintings, 3000 drawings and watercolours, 3500 prints and a small collection of sculpture. It is strong in 18th and 19th-century local artists – in particular Francis Towne, John White Abbott and John Gendall, representing Exeter and Devon topographical scenes.
The Natural Sciences collections at RAMM cover British and foreign zoology, botany and geology. Birds, molluscs and butterflies are areas of particular strength. Arts Council England awarded George Montagu’s mollusc collection Designated status in 2020 in recognition of its international importance to science. The actual number of objects within Natural Sciences is estimated in excess of 500,000.
The numismatics collection comprises coins, tokens, medals and bank notes issued in Devon. Archaeological coins and coin hoards are included within the Antiquities collections. The most important elements are very fine systematic collection of the silver pennies struck at Devon’s four Saxon and Norman mints and the sequence of Exeter’s Civil War coinage. There are also good collections of Devon tradesmen’s tokens.
The social history collection reflects the history of Exeter and its region from the 17th century onwards. It includes artefacts relating to the city’s defences, institutions such as the Guildhall, hospitals and religious organisations, its foreign and regional trade, industries, domestic life and topography. RAMM seeks to develop this area to ensure that the collection continues to reflect Exeter residents’ lived experience.
The World Cultures collection numbers some 12,000 items. In 1998, the collection was awarded Designated status in recognition of its international significance. When the Albert Memorial Museum opened its doors, members of the public started donating artefacts from many parts of the British Empire. However, artefacts and ancestors cared for by RAMM span a great range of time from human prehistory to the modern world.