The educational collection includes the museum items that visitors can touch and use. These items are catalogued and their use is monitored. The collection only includes donated items.
This collection was established in 1987 with the opening of the Kylämäki Village in Kurala. The items in the collection are used in the demonstrations of old work methods and life styles. Museum guests are allowed to use the objects. The collection helps conserve intangible cultural heritage attached to the objects.
Most of the objects in the historic era collection have been found in urban archaeological digs in Turku. There have been digs at the site of the medieval town as well as in areas untouched by urban living before the 17th and 18th centuries.
These digs have produced a wide range of findings. Due to damp and anoxic conditions, organic materials such as leather and wood have been preserved. Most objects are fragments and pieces, only a few have survived whole.
All prehistoric findings are usually deposited in the collections of the National Museum of Finland. This is based on the Antiquities Act which dictates that the National Board of Antiquities has the right to claim the findings for state collections.
The Turku Museum Centre started assembling its extensive collection of archaeological objects and samples at the end of the 19th century. Today the collection comprises over 100 000 objects dating back to the prehistoric (before 1150 BC) and the historic eras.
The archaeological collection is used in research projects, and it is displayed in exhibitions of the Museum Centre. Objects from this collection are sometimes on loan in other exhibitions.
The Turku Museum Centre has an extensive natural science collection, which the Turku Biological Museum is responsible for. The collection includes around 1200 samples of vertebrates, namely birds and mammals, and around 12 000 samples of invertebrates. Additionally, the collection has a few thousand wildlife photographs, received mainly as donations from hobbyists.
Museums can also have live collections. The Turku Museum Centre’s collection of traditional plants is a “live gene bank” that includes the ornamental and useful plants in the Kylämäki Village in Kurala.
The photograph collections consist of over a million photographs, negatives and slides dating back to the 1840s and all the way up to present day.
The items in these collections are donations as well as photographs taken by the museum. The collections focus on photographs depicting Turku and Southwest Finland. There are some true rarities in the collection such as the photograph by Henrik Cajander taken in Turku on 3 November 1842 and considered to be the oldest photograph taken in Finland.
The object collection of the Turku Museum Centre comprises around 280 000 objects. The collection has been accumulated since the beginning of the 1880s with donated, collected and bought objects. Objects from local gentry and bourgeois homes and manors form the foundation of the collection.