The collections include natural history, archaeology, art, local history and one of Britain's oldest public aquariums. These are housed, together with Bolton Central Library, in one end of the Bolton Civic Centre, designed by, local architects, Bradshaw Gass & Hope and opened in 1939. The museum has two outlying locations, Smithills Hall and Hall i' th' Wood.
The collections include material from many private collectors, including geological specimens from the estate of Caroline Birley.
- "Bolton Museum, Aquarium and Archive". Culture24. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
- "Caroline Birley". Bolton Museum. 7 June 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Bolton Museum, (no byline). "Amarna Princess statement", Bolton Museum, 29 November 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2007.
- Suggitt, Mark (March 2011). "Bolton Lives Gallery, Bolton Museum". Museums Journal. 111 (3): 50–51.