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MMU Special Collections

Reading Room and Gallery

Opening hours

Monday - Friday - 10.00am - 4.00pm
Free entry. Open to all.

The collections

The collections are central to the artistic culture and teaching of the faculty and have been since its foundation as the Manchester School of Art in 1853.

The collections include:

  • Artists' Books: a great range of creative experimentations with the book form
  • 20th century international poster collections
  • The Manchester School of Art Collection including fine and decorative art and the work of past and present students and staff
  • The Schmoller Collection of Decorated Papers
  • Children's Book Collection: featuring 19th and 20th century children's book illustration
  • Book collections exploring aspects of the book as an artifact
  • Archive collections including artists' working drawings and correspondence
  • Manchester Society of Architects Library
  • Victorian ephemera featuring 19th century albums and scrapbooks
  • Mary Butcher collection of Baxter prints

How do I access the collections?

The Book Design, Artists' Books and Children's Books collections can be searched on the Library catalogue.
The Manchester School of Art Collection, the archive collections, the Schmoller Collection of Decorated Papers and the poster collections can be searched on the Special Collections catalogue.

Staff and students of Manchester Metropolitan University should contact us in advance to make an appointment to view material from any of these collections and archives in our Reading Room. Please contact us at to make an appointment or for any other enquiries.


The Special Collections Gallery has a programme of exhibitions relating to the collections and also showcases the art and design practice and research of staff and students. Exhibition catalogues and collection publications are available to purchase. To hear about future events and exhibitions join our mailing list by visiting the Special Collections website.

Keeping up to date

Sign up for news about future exhibitions, events and talks via our email newsletter:

Other ways of keeping up to date:

Study facilities

  • Browse and research these unique collections in the quiet Reading Room, with specialist staff available to help with your research.
  • The Education Room can be used for teaching groups of up to 20 and the space can be hired for private functions. For more information please contact 0161 247 6107 or email

Keeping up to date

MMU Special Collections news updates are available by RSS feed and Twitter updates:

  • RSS feed
  • Follow MMU Special Collections on Twitter

To receive news about future exhibitions, events and talks sign up to our e-newsletter.

Current Exhibition

Exhibition poster

A Feast for the Eyes - A journey around Special Collections

There's also an archive of previous exhibitions and information about future exhibitions.

Full screen image viewer

All the images on the collections pages can also be viewed at your full screen size.

We'd recommend a screen resolution of at least 800x600.

Where are we?

Maps of our locations and contact details for Staff in the Special Collections.