Bill Douglas Centre

Bill Douglas Centre

Founded in memory of the British film-maker Bill Douglas in 1994, this museum on Exeter University campus contains an enormous collection relating to the history of film and optical entertainment. From shadow puppets to Shirley Temple dolls, from magic lanterns to Marilyn Monroe postcards, there should be something to fascinate every visitor.

Whether you are a casual browser, a teacher looking for activities for your class, or an academic hunting for those elusive social history artefacts, you've come to the right place.

Visit website

  • The lower gallery of the museum

    We have two public galleries and all the collection is accessible by appointment to be consulted in our reading room. Our catalogue is online and we have a facebook page.

  • The upper gallery of the museum

    We have ephemera and artefacts spanning the whole history of cinema from an original cinematographe to publicity material and toys from Star Wars and Harry Potter. You'll also find star memorabilia, posters, a huge library of books and much, much more.

  • A lantern slide from a set on Alice in Wonderland

    We have an unparalleled collection of items on the optical entertainments that pre-dated cinema; from shadows to illusions and magic lanterns.

  • A programme from the London Palace of Varieties 1898

    The audience's experiences of the moving image unites the diverse artefacts in our collection. Through our hundreds of programmes, press books, fan magazines and scrapbooks we understand what ordinary people felt and thought about what they saw on screen.

  • An original praxinoscope (French 1877)

    People have always enjoyed watching and making pictures move. Our collections show the history of animation, including beautiful nineteenth century animated toys and the biggest accessible collection on Disney in the UK.

Admission & prices

Opening Times
Mon - Fri: 10.00 - 17.00
Closed Bank Holidays

Entrance to the museum is FREE.
Guided tours are available by arrangement with the Curator.

Find us

From the A30 follow signs to Exeter city centre. From the city centre follow signs to the University (Streatham Campus). The museum is located in the Old Library (adjacent to the University Chapel) half-way along Prince of Wales Road.


  • Toilets On-Site
  • Wheelchair access

Disabled parking spaces available at the entrance to the Old Library. The building has lift and ramp access and an accessible toilet.

By public transport: The D bus service runs regularly between the University and Exeter city centre. Please contact Stagecoach on 0870 608 2608 for timetable information.

On foot: The museum is a 10 minute walk from Exeter St. Davids station and a 15 minute walk from the city centre and Exeter Central railway station.

Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture
Old Library
Prince of Wales Road

T: 01392 724321

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Bill Douglas Centre

Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture
Old Library
Prince of Wales Road

Exeter, DEVON EX4 4SB