Devon & Exeter Institution

7 Cathedral Close, Exeter, Devon, EX1 1EZ

Tel: 01392 274727

The Library of Devon & Exeter Institution

About

About us:

The Devon and Exeter Institution is a thriving independent library and educational charity in the heart of the city.  We welcome new members and visitors of all ages.

Our founders established the Institution in 1813, in order to promote ‘the general diffusion of Science, Literature and the Arts, and for illustrating the Natural and Civil History of the county of Devon and the History of the City of Exeter’.  This resolution remains at the centre of our strategy to this day.

The Institution occupies a Medieval building, originally owned by the Cathedral.  It was inherited by the Courtenay family in the 17th Century and used as their townhouse for over 150 years.   In 1814, ‘200 Gentlemen of the City’ took ownership of 7 Cathedral Close and adapted the double-courtyard layout to create two elegant Georgian rooms.  These rooms functioned as both library and a museum; museum objects were later donated to form the foundation collection of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in 1868.

Today our two galleried libraries hold a unique historical book collection, virtually unchanged, and  collections of maps, prints, drawings and our fine and decorative art.  The Library and collections lie at the heart of the Institution and provide inspiration and a place for research and reading, educational activities, cultural events and lectures.  We are delighted to conduct free public tours every Wednesday afternoon between 1.00 - 4.00pm, no need to book. Everyone is welcome.

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Opening Times

* We are open for public tours on Wednesday afternoons form 1pm – 4pm.

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