The History Collection contains over 7000 items of dress and textiles, of both New Zealand and overseas origin. The Dress Collection consists of women’s, men’s, children’s, and infants’ clothing and accessories from the eighteenth century to the present day.
The strength of the collection lies in its nineteenth century women's formal dress and late twentieth century and contemporary New Zealand women's and men's fashion.
The Textiles Collection also encompasses items from the eighteenth century to the present day. The strength of this part of the collection is in nineteenth century printed and woven textiles. The collection is currently being developed in the area of New Zealand printed textiles of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Until about six years ago, the collection was very much a social history collection. Since then, collection development has broadened to include New Zealand fashion up to the present day.
The Textile Collection also includes household textiles, dress accessories such as embroidery and lace, a flag collection, plus other small miscellaneous collections such as dolls, ribbons, and buttons.