In 1991, a survey was made of the miscellaneous pictures, sculpture, and artefacts found at the University. This initial work led to the creation of Research and Cultural Collections.
Sue Armitage led the survey, working with the photographer Ron Swift, and the unexpected new knowledge they gained led to the appointment of a University Curator, who started the task of cataloguing, organising and assessing these newly identified collections. This initial work led to the creation of Research and Cultural Collections.
In the subsequent years, Research and Cultural Collections has developed through the incorporation of objects from various teaching departments, including: the Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts, the Archaeology Collection and the Historic Physics Collection, to name a few.
Since the mid-1990s a programme of object displays has continued in line with historical precedent. When the University moved to Edgbaston in the early 1900s the new buildings incorporated eight separate museums attached to departments to aid teaching, and this practice was used as a model in the 1990s. The African and archaeology collections were the first to be given museum-quality display cases within their departments, thus drawing collections and teaching tightly together so that staff and students would be constantly aware of the presence in their departments of their historic objects, and of their teaching value.