Manuscripts and Special Collections celebrates 10th anniversary

This summer, the University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts and Special Collections team celebrated ten years at King’s Meadow Campus.

To celebrate, the team hosted a public open day on Friday 9 September to thank everyone who has supported them over the past decade. Highlights included a behind-the-scenes tour of the department, displays of archives and rare books and a formal opening of the newly-refurbished Reading Room by Registrar Dr Paul Greatrix.

The tour highlighted the team’s work on conservation, where guests were talked through the process of conserving and repairing of materials. Visitors were then taken around the store spanning 8km of shelving, followed by a look into the digitisation studio, which creates digital copies of archived material.

Speaking at the open day, Dr Greatrix said: “I am delighted to reopen the Manuscripts and Special Collections Reading Room. These facilities are about making sure the University’s wealth of resources are accessible to staff, students and the general public. The team do a fantastic job involving the local community with a range of events and opportunities, including the Francis Willoughby exhibition currently on display in the Weston Gallery.”

Manuscripts and Special Collections were based in Hallward Library from 1973, but as student numbers grew and space was limited the department moved in 2006 to the former Carlton TV Studios on King’s Meadow Campus, bringing with it 3 million manuscripts and 40,000 rare books.

Staff, students and the public are welcome to view their printed, manuscript and archive collections spanning over 800 years with archive dating from the 1180s and books dating from the 1490s. The department also regularly hosts free exhibitions – you can currently view Francis Willughby: a Natural Historian and his Collections in the Weston Gallery at Lakeside Arts. The exhibition tells the story of the life and work of Willughby, who combined his interests in Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire with a passion to understand the natural world.

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