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University Collections

The University Collections are the art and historic artefact collections that represent the institutional, disciplinary, social and cultural history of the University and its predecessor institutions. These collections are held across campus, and exclude the collections of Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery and John Rylands Library. They are overseen by the University of Manchester Library.

The University holds a significant place in history and it is our responsibility to preserve our unique material heritage for current and future generations. The University Collections enable us to tell stories of our people, places, values and achievements, fostering knowledge exchange with communities beyond campus and forming the basis of powerful object-based learning experiences. Embedded across our physical and digital environment this tangible heritage underpins the distinctive University of Manchester identity, community and learning experience.

The collections are diverse and include:

  • Paintings and sculpture, including a large amount of portraiture of key figures;
  • The University’s historic public art collection;
  • Ceremonial and decorative objects related to the University, including silverware and gowns;
  • Scientific instruments and apparatus, including the Museum of Medicine and Health;
  • Clothing, such as historic University blazers, sports kit and medals; and
  • Photographs documenting life and work at the University.

Help us care for our University’s history and heritage

Are you aware of any University art or historic objects in your area of work?

The University History and Heritage Office are creating a full catalogue of art and historic artefacts that relate to the history of the University.

Please contact us if you have any objects located in your work area which you think need to be recorded.

Advice and guidance

The heritage team at the University Library has oversight of the University Collections and can offer advice and guidance on managing art and historic objects in your area of work. In particular, we must be consulted on newly found objects, new acquisitions, donations and disposals of historic objects, to ensure that the University can continue to care appropriately for our important heritage.

Further details about the University Collections and how they are managed can be found in the University Collections Policy.

You can contact the heritage team for advice and guidance.