Bill Douglas Cinema Museum secures £½ million grant

12426247456?profile=RESIZE_400xThe Bill Douglas Cinema Museum at the University of Exeter has announced that it has received a £104,456 grant each year for the next five years from Research England’s Higher Education Museum and Galleries Collection Fund.  The awards recognises and supports the unique and significant contribution that the museum makes to the wider research community and enables this to grow.

The funding will be used for more staff to allow more cataloguing of the museum’s ever-growing collection. It will also enable greater digitisation of the collection so people can enjoy it remotely and give the opportunity to expand the museum’s successful stipend scheme for researchers.

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum is the leading moving image museum in the UK and is home to one of the most significant such collections in the world. It was formed from the collection of the renowned director Bill Douglas and his friend Peter Jewell and many donations have been added since. Experts from around the world come to examine the 90,000-strong collection at the University of Exeter’s Streatham campus. It is also a public museum, free and open to all.

Museum Curator Dr Phil Wickham said: “Our mission is to follow in Bill Douglas’s footsteps and preserve these wonderful objects for the future and give the public and those researching the history of moving image access to them. Our collection – and interest from experts – has grown significantly in the past decade. People entrust their own collections to us because they know we will take very good care of them, and because they will be available for others to study and see.

12426247292?profile=RESIZE_400x“We are thrilled to have been given this funding from Research England. It will allow us to continue building this unique resource and further extend our reach to scholars, students and the public. It will allow us to take on further staff and support to enable further digitisation and cataloguing to open up the collections further, and initiatives to support visits from external researchers.

More than 1,000 items are on display in the museum galleries. The collection is accessible to all and covers three centuries of moving image history, including over 23,000 film books; 1,500 stereoscope cards; 650 magic lantern slides and 23 magic lanterns. There are more than thousands of items relating to stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe, shadow puppets from around the world, an original 1896 Lumière Cinématographe, books signed by Thomas Edison and annotated by his inventor W.K.L Dickson, as well as many items used by ordinary film fans that makes the museum a people’s history of the moving image. In addition to objects the collection includes a significant library and archive. 


Photographs: © Michael Pritchard, October 2022

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