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Special collections

The University's collections reflect its long history as an art school as well as the diversity of interests pursued by its art and design community. They offer an inexhaustible resource of imagery for research, teaching and inspiration, alongside specialist advice, and an understanding of the needs of those grounded in visually-based study.

The University Library holds Special Collections relating mainly to illustration, paper and the book arts. These include artists' books, children's books, and posters, as well as rare architectural volumes and paper ephemera. The most recent addition is the world-class Schmoller Collection of decorated papers, including marbled papers, paste papers and artist-designed papers amongst its vast array. Also held in the Library is the Manchester School of Art Collection. Building on teaching collections begun in 1894, important examples of ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery from notable makers of the English Arts and Crafts movement are present alongside objects by contemporary craftspeople and designers.

The North West Film Archive

With over 30,000 reels of film and videotape, the North West Film Archive is internationally known for its role in preserving moving images. The collections are unsurpassed for their ability to bring to life the history of the region, and include early footage of the Art School itself. Research, viewing and loan services are available during opening hours. The archive is located at Manchester Central Library.

Visual Resources Centre

Housed in the historic Grosvenor Building, the School of Art's Visual Resources Centre contains a collection of over 300,000 images covering a wide array of art and design subjects, and popular culture. The collection is available to staff and students for research and loan. In addition, this facility holds the Design Council Slide Collection, comprising over 20,000 images of British design in the postwar period up to 1990. This specialist collection is also a valuable source of evidence of the criteria used to evaluate design.