Obtaining and administering the collections is the most important area of activity of the Museum of Archaeology. According to its foundation deeds, "in building up its collections, the Museum of Archaeology focuses on documenting Slovakia's development from prehistory to the High Middle Ages. For presentation purposes, it also obtains material from other cultural areas". Material from Slovakia therefore makes up a dominant part of the collections. Since their beginnings, the collection items have mainly been obtained through the museum's own archaeological research; to a lesser extent through donations, purchases and transfers from other institutions. Until the summer of 1944, over ten thousand collection items were recorded in the prehistoric section of the RegionalMuseum. When the building was hit by aerial bombs in 1944, around one third of the archaeological collection was destroyed. Today, the collection has grown to over 150,000 recorded items;
the total number of stored artefacts is approximately ten times greater. The archaeological finds almost fully document the material culture of prehistoric, protohistoric, early medieval and medieval human societies living on the territory of present-day Slovakia from the times when our ancestors first set foot on it until the end of the Middle Ages, in exceptional cases up to the nineteenth century. In terms of numbers, sets of collection items from other cultural areas have a secondary role: mainly from ancient Egypt, Greece and from the territory of the ancient Roman Empire. Within the SNM, archaeological collections are stored in the EthnographicMuseum in Martin, the SpišMuseum in Levoča and in Betliar castle.
Protecting, conserving, restoring, recording and finally making the collections accessible to the specialist public are an intrinsic part of obtaining collections. In the Museum of Archaeology, staff mainly specialise in preserving and restoring archaeological finds: ceramics and metal. For more demanding conservation interventions, X-rays and determining the exact chemical composition of metals and non-metal materials are standard procedures. The steps taken during conservation interventions are noted in archived records. The storage premises and depositories of the Museum of Archaeology are located in its own building. The collection items are stored on shelves, in cupboards and in drawers. Safes are used to store more valuable artefacts.
It is standard procedure for the premises to be heated, protected by an electronic alarm system, with fire protection and specially manufactured packaging. Records of archaeological finds are governed by the Museum and Galleries Act no. 115/1998. Over 150,000 collection items are recorded at levels 1 and 2 using the traditionalmethods of inventory books. A modern electronic version of the records is currently being prepared, with the possibility of providing public access.
Around thirty specialists from Slovakia and abroad come to study archaeological material in the Museum of Archaeology each year. Approximately 500 collection items are loaned by the museum annually to other institutions for exhibitions and displays.