The Museum cares for an internationally important series of in-situ historic monuments (5 Scheduled Ancient Monuments, 38 Listed Buildings including 3 entire factories as single listings, and 100 acres of land, including canal and riverbank). The Trust undertakes archaeological investigations, and collects, documents, preserves, exhibits and interprets objects (both statically and operationally), within the date range 1650 to the present. It achieves this through the medium of exhibitions, lectures, meetings, publications and by other interpretative means (including costumed demonstrators, role play, and interactive exhibits).

The Museum is Registered with the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council (DCMS) and many of its collections were Designated in 1997 as pre-eminent collections of national and international importance.

Designated Collections include:

  • Darby family archives and memorabilia (including objects and buildings associated with the Coalbrookdale Company).
  • The Elton Collection of prints, drawings, paintings, books and ephemera relating to the industrial and transport revolutions in this country and to a limited extent abroad.
  • Decorative arts (Caughley and Coalport porcelain, tiles and architectural ceramics, and Coalbrookdale decorative metalwork).
  • Broseley Pipeworks and its social history archive and collection relating to clay tobacco pipe manufacture.
  • The Telford Collection of manuscripts, books, prints, drawings, paintings and photographs relating to the life and works of Thomas Telford.
  • The George Maw Geological and Mineral Collection of specimens from all over the world.