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Founded in 1994, Exeter's Bill Douglas Centre contains an enormous collection relating to the history of film and visual media. About 900 of the most important items are on display in two galleries, while the remaining thousands of books and objects are all available for study in the Research Centre.
The building contains both a public museum and an academic research centre, housing one of Britain's largest public collections of books, prints, artefacts and ephemera relating to the history and pre-history of cinema. It was founded in commemoration of film maker Bill Douglas, one of the British cinema's most innovative auteurs.
At the heart of the Centre is the remarkable Bill Douglas and Peter Jewell Collection of about 50,000 items. Bill died in 1991, and Peter subsequently donated the joint collection to the Exeter University Foundation. Since then, other donations have been made, including a generous gift by Roy Fowler (the former writer-producer-director of film and TV) of his library of cinema and broadcasting-related books.
Complementing the University's existing extensive resources for the study of popular culture, the collection's 18,000 books give Exeter the country's largest University library on cinema.
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