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Special Collections - archives and rare books: Introduction

About Special Collections

The Special Collections Team care for the more rare and specialised parts of the Library collection, including archives, rare books and journals, and artefacts.

The Special Collections Team

For general enquiries or to make an appointment, please contact or phone 0116 207 8776


The Archive includes material relating to the history of DMU since its foundation in 1870, as well as collections which support major teaching strengths of the university such as fashion, photography and performing arts. Catalogues of the DMU archives are being hosted on the Archives Hub. These catalogues are a work in progress and more descriptions will be added over time. Meanwhile if you do not see what you are looking for please contact the archivist who will be happy to discuss uncatalogued collections with you.

Contact or 0116 207 8776 with enquiries or to book an appointment.

Updates about the work of the team are available on the DMU Special Collections Team Blog while images from the collections are showcased on Flickr.

A list of archival holdings can be found here.

In addition to caring for our collections we assist researchers, organise outreach activities such as talks, tours and displays, contribute to records management and research data management strategies across the university, collaborate with heritage partners across Leicester and the East Midlands, and run a successful student volunteering programme.

Any student wishing to gain experience of working with archives is welcome to discuss a placement with the Archivist.

Using the Archive in your work

Here are some examples of how students have used DMU Special Collections in their work:

  • Case study on a set of Victorian photographs

  • Inspiration from a collection of 1920s fashion illustrations

  • Using prospectuses and committee minutes for a study of the history of graphic design teaching

  • Studying postcards of historic Leicester for a history project

  • Copying maps and plans to inspire patterns on textiles

For more case studies see the LibGuide on 'Using Archives'.

Visiting the Archive

The Special Collections team are based in Room 00.21 on the lower ground floor of the Kimberlin Library.

Opening Hours

Monday: Closed
Tues-Fri: 10am-5pm
Open on the first Saturday of every month 10am-2pm