Archaeological material was acquired from the earliest days of the museum. The current collection consists of about 2,050 items. The museum holds material of local and national significance which is displayed within the history gallery, Discover Preston.
Ancient human and animal skulls from the Preston Dock Excavations, which are between 6,000 and 1000 years old.
Material discovered at the Bleasdale Circle including the Bronze Age cinerary urns.
The Poulton Elk skeleton which dates from the end of the last Ice Age.
The John Weld collection of prehistoric and bronze age tools and weapons from Britain, Ireland and Denmark.
The museum also holds Greek and Egyptian artefacts including the Finch collection of Greek and Hellenistic pottery, and Egyptian antiquities mostly acquired through the museum’s contribution to the Egyptian Research Account.
The Harris Museum & Art Gallery has a collection of over 11,000 coins, tokens and seals. The coin collection is divided into Foreign, Colonial & Commonwealth and British coins. The token collection consists mainly of British trade tokens from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. It also includes some love tokens, seals, jettons, counters and toy money.
The museum also has a small collection of bank notes from around the world and holds a number of important items of local and national significance including a large collection of coin hoards found in the North West.
Parts of this collection are on display in the Discover Preston gallery, including;
Roman hoards from Brindle, Kirkham, Worden, Fishergate Hill, and parts of the Hackensall and Rossall Hoards
Part of the Cuerdale Hoard consisting of Viking, Anglo-Saxon and Frankish coins
The Prestwich hoard of early English coins (871 - 926 AD)
St Anne's and Whittingham hoards of Tudor and Stuart coins
The medal collection consists of approximately 800 foreign, national and local military and commemorative medals from the 17th to the 20th centuries and the local collection of commemorative medals including a large section relating to Preston such as Temperance medals and standard and trade medals from the Preston Guilds. A major part of the collection was collected and donated by Councillor William Richardson.