We are delighted to begin the phased reopening of The Institution from July, please follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for updates


Directors report to AGM 2020

2019-2020 has been an extraordinary year.  Like many heritage organisations, we had to close our doors in March and adapt quickly to a locked-down world.  At the same time, we also received notification of our successful application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for our exciting new project, The Next Chapter.  Needless to say, there have been ups and downs but we have faced challenges in the spirit of the 19th century scientists who founded the Institution in 1813, adapting and innovating our programme and services so that we have continued to flourish and connect with our members and supporters.

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Celebrating Libraries Week (5-10 October 2020)

Libraries Week is an annual showcase of the best that libraries have to offer, celebrating the nation's much-loved libraries and their vital role in the UK's book culture. We have been celebrating this week with a series of readings by our members and volunteers. We hope you enjoy them.

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Saturday Programme – October

We are delighted to bring back our free Saturday workshops which will now be bookable and limited to six participants. All workshops take inspiration from our special collections and heritage site.   

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Mayflower: marking 400 years

Daniel Neal (1678-1743), a historian and nonconformist minister, published the first volume of The History of the Puritans in 1732; the final fourth volume appeared in 1738. Neal’s story starts with the Protestant Reformation and concludes with the Act of Toleration in the reign of William and Mary. The second volume includes an account of the voyage of Mayflower to the new ‘Promised Land’.

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Heritage Open Days – A Snapshot in Time

Much of Exeter’s long history has been well documented, however one area that is less well documented is the West Quarter. Whilst the famous Stepcote Hill is featured in many postcards and guidebooks, the area around it, prosperous in medieval times, was designated a slum area in the 1920s and scheduled for redevelopment.

Last September historian Dr Julia Neville, in collaboration with the DEI, invited members to join a research group to study the history of the West Quarter in the 1920s. The group has been working on the project since then, using resources from the DEI library, those at the Devon Heritage Centre and the Central Library, and websites such as .ancestry.co.uk. Of course, the group’s work has been challenged by the Covid-19 crisis, but members have continued utilising on-line resources.

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