The museum is dedicated to the history of the London Borough of Islington.
The museum opened in May 2008 following a £1m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It replaced a previous museum at Islington Town Hall.
The collection covers local and social history, centred around nine broad themes: childhood, food and drink, fashion, leisure, healthcare, radicals, caring, home and wartime.
Highlights include a bust of Vladimir Lenin, who lived and worked in Clerkenwell, and items defaced by Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, who in the 1950s would remove books from local public libraries and modify the cover art or the blurbs before returning them to the shelves.