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Special Collections - archives and rare books: About Special Collections

We are offering researcher access by appointment on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10 am to 5 pm.  Please contact Archives if you have any queries.

What is Special Collections?

Special Collections comprises archives, artefacts, rare books and artworks.

The collections span 1474 to the present day and encompass the history of DMU as an institution, with specialist holdings including collections on sports history, performance and art, history of photography, fashion and textiles, and the history of Leicester.

Catalogues for our collections can be accessed here

The Special Collections Team

Katharine ShortSpecial Collections Manager: 0116 250 6392, @KatharineES

Dr Natalie HaytonAssistant Archivist: 0116 207 8724, @natalieahayton 

David MillnsArchives Assistant: 0116 207 8776

Visiting the Archive

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

Opening Hours

Appointments are available Tuesday to Friday.

To make an appointment please email

If you have any enquiries or wish to order copying or scanning, please contact us.

More information on Access here.


Accredited Archive Service Logo

Our Mission

To celebrate the past, present and future of De Montfort University through the preservation, promotion and display of archives and artefacts which reveal the on-going story of the institution, inspiring student achievement through engagement with heritage.

DMU Special Collections sits within the Directorate of Library and Learning Services and shares their overall mission and vision, as well as aspiring to contribute to the Strategic Framework set out by the University.

Our Vision


Our vision is to enhance teaching, learning and research activities at De Montfort University and beyond through the provision of specialist resources and to facilitate cross-departmental collaborations inspired by heritage. We aim to engage, motivate and promote learning to all and to play an active role in the life of the students, staff and the community. Special Collections will celebrate, reflect and capture the vibrancy, creativity, culture and diversity of the university as well as its excellence in research and learning.

Our Aspirations

  • To develop archival holdings which reflect the achievements of DMU over its history and to collect the contemporary records which will become the archives of tomorrow
  • To enhance teaching, learning and research by provision of subject-specific archives and book collections that reflect major teaching strengths of the University
  • To collaborate with academics to provide an exciting programme of student engagement with the archive and rare book collections and to offer students the opportunity for personal enhancement through placements in the archive
  • To use appropriate technologies to catalogue the collections and promote them across the global research community

Our Values

Our values are at the core of all our work and help us to deliver our mission.

Accessibility: to promote and maintain access to all archives and rare books for all interested parties

Preservation: to ensure that all materials cared for within Special Collections are handled, displayed and stored according to best practice guidelines, to ensure their long term preservation as evidence of the activities of the University for future generations

Engagement: to promote the collections across the University and the wider community, working in partnership with the DMU Heritage Centre to create a vibrant heritage hub and supporting the aspiration of students by opening them up to the possibilities of using heritage in their work

Innovation: to encourage innovation in our approach, using new techniques, technologies and ideas to enhance our work and continually improve the interpretation and preservation of our collections

Collaboration: to work with a range of partners both within the University and across the community, encouraging mutually beneficial dialogues and exciting possibilities to enhance learning, celebrate achievement and create networks

Our Policies

Our Collections Management Policy is available to read below. It has been created to assist us with achieving our mission and to support all our users in how they wish to understand and/or access our services and holdings. Dated June 2023, the Policy will be reviewed again in June, 2026.

A streamlined ‘Contents’ list below allows for an at-a-glance look at what the Collections Management Policy covers:

  • Purpose of the Collections Management Policy
  • Collections Development Policy
  • Collections Information Policy
  • Collections Care Policy
  • Collections Access Policy
  • Volunteering and Internships Policy
  • Digital Records Preservation Policy
  • Management of Non-archival Materials Policy
  • Staff Development Policy

Collections Management Policy