FROM treasured family heirlooms to religious artefacts and football trophies, we put all sorts of things on our mantelpieces.

But what do they really mean to us and why do we treasure them so much?

A new photography exhibition at Bolton Museum’s community gallery is hoping to answer these questions by highlighting six of the town's residents and hopefully revealing the meanings behind their keepsakes and mementoes.

"I'm very pleased with it and it was a lovely commission to get," said photographer Madeleine Waller, whose photographs, video and audio recordings tell each person’s story.

"For me it was about capturing the stories behind these everyday, unassuming objects that are so proudly displayed in people's homes.

"They hold really deep, sentimental associations for people and are often a physical representation of something very emotional."

Each participant photographed by Madeleine spoke about the meaning behind their chosen objects on display and the stories explored contain loss, hope, achievement, parenthood and the importance of family.

"It was really nice that everyone had a different story to tell," she said. "The interviews were very spontaneous and people really opened up and were very emotional.

"I felt very privileged to be let into people's homes and be able to listen to their stories. It was incredibly intimate at times."

One participant, Jenneh Diamond Massaquoi, who escaped the civil war in Liberia and arrived in Britain in 2004, has kept her father’s retirement badges from the Firestone Rubber factory on her mantelpiece.

"She really struck me," added Madeleine. "What she spoke about was very powerful and emotional.

"When you look at objects you realise they hold memories and they can make you think of a special person even if to others they're just a bit of tat."

Mantelpiece Stories runs until January 3 2021.