The Museum began as one small room in the Town Hall until it moved to the purpose-built Garlick Room in the Civic Hall in 1974. It remained there until July 1990, when the developers of The Shires Shopping Centre allowed it to take over the first floor of the Home Mills building.
Rare Machinery tells the story of woollen cloth production in Trowbridge from its domestic beginnings through to the mechanisation of the process. As well as a complete Spinning Jenny, the Museum displays also include a Fulling machine which was patented by Trowbridge engineer, John Dyer, in 1833. It was such a technically accomplished design that the machine remained unchanged and was still in use in the 20th century. A fine teazle gig, which was used to raise the nap of the cloth, can also be seen. The machine contains numerous handles of teazles (this was the name for the frames into which the teazles were fixed) which were dried out in Handle Houses. These were buildings constructed with perforated brickwork to allow air to circulate to dry the teazles out ready for re-use. Trowbridge is unique in still having a Handle House; this faces Studley Mill, one of the many mill buildings that remain in the town.
Textile and Weaving Festival
The Museum organises a bi-annual Textile and Weaving Festival which highlights the town's woollen cloth related architecture and the work of contemporary local textile artists.