The Harborough Museum grew out of the collection of the Market Harborough Historical and Archaeological Society, which held its first meeting in 1931. The following year several historic objects were displayed at a talk by H G Coales on the ‘history of Market Harborough’. The first recorded object given to the Society was an engraving of the town, presented by Mr Harris in 1932.
The Society’s growing collection was displayed in Welland House in The Square where it remained until 1939, when the ‘Museum Room’ was opened in the County Library on The Square. In 1981 a partnership between the District and County Councils and the Historical Society was formed to open a new museum. On the 28th June 1983 the Harborough Museum opened in the Symington Building.
The Society’s collection was the foundation of the museum and from the 1980s the County Council Museum Service developed and managed the museum collection with the continuing support of the Society. For the next 30 years displays, exhibitions, talks, events and publications celebrated the history and culture of the Harborough area and many objects were accessioned into the Market Harborough collection.
In 2014 the revitalisation of the Symington Building by Harborough District Council led to the creation of the Symington 1 hub of library, museum and adult learning services and redesigned museum displays and exhibition spaces were created with the support of the Market Harborough and the Bowdens Charity.
Harborough Museum continues to be a partnership between Leicestershire County Council, Harborough District Council and the Market Harborough Historical Society. The museum is supported by the Friends of Harborough Museum.