The museum came about through the annual parish meeting held in 1971. To encourage people to attend, they were asked to bring something old to an exhibition in the village hall. So many interesting articles appeared that the exhibition continued for several days. From this a permanent museum was born. As the collection grew, the museum finally occupied the whole top floor of the fifteenth century Guildhall.

The museum's collection includes early twentieth century shop interiors together with window displays, artefacts, costumes; information on domestic life of the same period and the Mid Suffolk Light Railway, which terminated in Laxfield; farming and rural life in Suffolk; local 'field finds', including fossils; special exhibitions changed annually and displayed in the Marchant Room.

Apart from regular weekend openings in Spring and Summer, the museum also has an active outreach programme. (See Schools & Community  section.)