At the time of forming the original museum in 1978, the Curator Jim Dorman had collected many artefacts and items from the community.
There is a wealth of items illustrating the island’s past – communication equipment from the Aviation Department; everyday household items, farming equipment such as cream separators and corn huskers, whaling implements (donated by Ian Kiernan); shipwreck items including the ship’s bell from the S.S. Ovalau donated by Greg and Ellis Whitfield
In 2004 PhD student Kimberley Owens carried out a project on the early archaeology of the island. During this research she excavated several sites and uncovered what is believed to be the 1834 foundations of the very first cottage on the island, buried under sand in the Old Settlement paddock. She uncovered over 3,000 artefacts which, along with her research papers, are all lodged at the museum.