A significant proportion of the permanent collection entered the museum when it was founded. In terms of both quality and quantity, the most important works came from the Museum of Fine Arts and the Archaeological Museum, Seville. However today they are relevantly unimportant components in the museum's permanent display since they cannot be considered as ethnographical.
The generosity of the people of Seville was exemplary in the initial years of the collections' formation. This is still the case today. Their contribution has filled many gaps in the collections of textiles, agricultural and household tools, and musical instruments, which have steadily enriched the museum's exhibition narrative.
The most significant donation came from an individual in 1979: the Díaz Velázquez Bequest. It is one of the best-known collections of embroidery and lace in Europe. On its own, it could form an independent specialised museum with its almost 6,000 pieces.
Deposits are well represented, since Seville City Council made the decision to entrust custody of its collection of original posters from the Seville spring fairs to the museum. Since it was first presented in the museum's galleries, the collection has frequently appeared in exhibitions throughout Europe and Japan, and both editions of its catalogue quickly sold out. Some years later, the Regional Ministry of Culture acquired and deposited the Mencos collection at the museum. This is the most complete collection known of lithographs and photochromes of posters of Seville's Feria de Abril and Holy Week, and is the perfect addition to this collection.
However, the ideal method to increase the holdings of museums like the Museum of Popular Arts and Tradition is through ethnographical research and field work. These activities have produced systematic and valuable material. The most ambitious was the research project on traditional Andalusian pottery. As progress was made, it acquired importance and clearly showed the advantages of collecting pieces produced by the more than 100 potters who would be studied, in addition to research data. This was how the Traditional Andalusian Ceramics collection, now housed in the museum, was formed. It is probably the most complete in Europe, along with the collection held at the Museum of Hamburg.
A series of field work programmes, which had been carried out to increase the number of holdings, were also productive and led to a succession of donations: the cooperage workshop donated by Claudio Bernal, Seville's last cooper and assembled by researcher Carmen Ortiz; the workshop of the guitar maker, Francisco Barba, documented by Andrés Carretero; the workshop of master craftsman Filigrana, now deceased, who made castanets; and the gilding workshop which was previously documented in research by Esther Fernández de Paz. Currently there are eight workshops on display.
One of the most significant additions in recent years is the acquisition by the Regional Ministry of Culture of the Loty Collection. It comprises over 2,000 glass photographic plates that record a large number of details of Andalusia's cities and life from the early 1900s to 1936. Also important was the acquisition of the Allepuz ethnographical collection by the General Directorate of Museums of the Regional Ministry of Culture. This collection is made up of 168 different ethnographical pieces in different materials. Other collections recently acquired by the Regional Ministry of Culture for the museum include the Carmen Contreras and José Castro Segura toy collections and the Adrián González collection featuring over 6,300 postcards from the early 20th century.