Many of the objects displayed in the Durbar Hall were collected by Annie and Thomas Brassey on their voyages around the world. Surviving registers show the Brasseys' collection to have consisted in total of over 6,000 items of European and Oriental Art, ethnography, archaeology, and natural history. The ethnographic material was given to Hastings Museum, together with the Durbar Hall, in 1919. Of the other material, the natural history and some of the geological collections were given to Bexhill Museum.
From 1889 to the death of the first Lord Brassey in 1918, the Lady Brassey Museum in the Durbar Hall at 24 Park Lane was open to visiting groups by arrangement, and on Sunday afternoons. Other collections were on show at Normanhurst Court, the Brasseys' country residence near Catsfield. An admission charge was made, with the money going to local charities.