In 1936 the County Librarian Edgar Osborne appealed to the Carnegie Trust to fund a scheme to establish a collection of educational material of a type not usually found in schools. This collection would be based on his observations of similar schemes in the United States. A three year experimental programme was set up with a number of educational grants and the Derbyshire Schools Museum Service was established. The collection allowed the handling and close observation of objects, stimulating imagination and investigation. The aim was to enable children to have access to original objects and works of art. A ‘Picture of the Month’ was developed. Acquisition continued actively until the 1980s and continues to this day as part of the Derbyshire & Derby School Library Service, especially with the inclusion of work by local artists. One of the strengths of the collection is that it forms a contemporary retrospective of artists, many at the start of their careers, and whose work can now be enjoyed in major collections around the world.