Not many of the original items from the collections of the former museum in Svitavy have been preserved. The collection activities of the museum founders were focused on the immediate region, ethnography, and crafts. The events of the two World Wars in the 20th century were a literal disaster for the museum collections.
Following the end of the Second World War some objects were saved and the museum even acquired many items confiscated from deported Germans. During the 1940s and 1950s the museum obtained some highly precious objects – a moving nativity scene, Svitavy treasure, archaeological collections, porcelain collections, pewter dishes and glass, art works, and historical photographs.
In the 1960s the majority of these valuable items were distributed to surrounding museums, schools, government offices, and archives. The founding of the District Museum of the Labour Movement also repressed classic collection activities. Objects documenting the labour movement and the history of the Communist Party began to fill the half-empty display cases. It wasn’t until 1991 that the museum, with a minimal number of quality items, could focus on creating a clear profile. In searching for themes for the museum’s collection activities an emphasis was placed on households and household work, crafts, and regional art. The museum received exceptional works from the estate of woodcarver Alois Petrus, the book collections of the Ottendorfer Library were assembled, a collection of unique theatre costumes were brought from the liquidated theatre, and a number of valuable artefacts were saved from the parish church. But these successes had more of a fortuitous nature.
A fundamental turning point came when cooperation began with Jevíčko collector Bohumil Doubek, who donated to the museum his lifelong collection of folk crafts, agricultural and ethnographic items, including several historic washing machines. Over the next ten years these grew into a collection of washing devices that is unrivalled in the Czech Republic.
Today a total of 9,132 items are recorded in the electronic database of museum collections; these are also recorded in the centralized register maintained by the Czech Ministry of Culture. The items are classified as fine art, decorative art, library collections, photography, the washing technology collection, the carvings of Alois Petrus, and the largest group is comprised of general collections.