Palace Green Library

Image of the entrance to Palace Green Library, with Durham Cathedral in the background
Guided tours icon Library icon Study area icon Hearing disability facilities icon Visual disability facilities icon

Founded in 1833 and occupying listed buildings within the Durham World Heritage site, the Palace Green Library of Durham University houses archives, early printed books and other special collections.

The Wolfson Gallery
Located on the first floor of Palace Green Library, the Gallery opened in 2011 after undergoing a £2.3m refurbishment, funded in part by a £500,000 donation from the Wolfson Foundation. The Wolfson Gallery is designed to safely exhibit our collections to the highest standards of conservation.

The Dennyson Stoddart and History of the Book Galleries
These galleries are located on the ground floor of Palace Green Library. The opening of the Dennyson Stoddart Gallery in the Summer of 2012 was a milestone in the University’s £10 million development project at Palace Green Library. It was in the History of the Book Gallery that the Lindisfarne Gospels and St Cuthbert's Bible - the earliest surviving European book complete with its original binding - were displayed in an award-winning exhibition visited by more than 100,000 people in Summer 2013.

There are: Over 70,000 books printed before 1850 including 300 incunables; over 100 Medieval manuscripts; 3,400 metres of archives and artefacts; over 30,000 maps and prints and 100,000 photographs. We are open to anyone needing to consult our collections. New users will be required to fill out a short registration form.

Two of the University Library's special collections, the Bishop Cosin's Library and the Sudan Archive, were awarded Designated Collection of national importance status in 2005 in the first round of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Designation Scheme.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive, Museum, Gallery, Heritage site, Castle or defences

Opening hours

Museum of Archaeology (Term and Vacation)
Monday 12.00-17.00
Tuesday-Sunday 10.00-17.00

Galleries (including DLI collection gallery)
10.00-17.00 daily (last entry 16.30)

Admission charges

Admission charges vary for temporary exhibitions. Please visit the website for up-to-date information.

Admission to the Museum of Archaeology and The DLI Collection Gallery is FREE entry.

Durham Castle Tours:
Adults £5.00
Concessions/children £4.00
Children (5yrs and under) - FREE
Family ticket £15.00
Durham University campus card holders FREE

Discounts

  • Museums Association

Additional info

Wheelchair access to all public areas ,though subject to disruption from ongoing building work. Please check Library website: pg.library@durham.ac.uk or call 191 334 2932 on the day you intend to visit.

The Bishop Cosin's Library and the Sudan Archive are Designated Collections of oustanding national and international importance.

The Bishop Cosin’s Library is still housed in its original building and, as an integral element of the World Heritage Site, has significance for the history of libraries and for ecclesiastical history both locally and nationally.

The Sudan Archive is indispensable to the study of the Sudan in the period of British administration. It is significant to British national life through its illustration of the impact of the colonial power on the country at many levels of administration.

The Special Collections at Palace Green Library also hold many other important national and regional collections, including:

Durham Diocesian Records
Durham Cathedral Muniments
Local Records, Maps, Plans and Photographs
Manorial Records
Earl Grey Family Papers
Antiquarian Papers
Literary Papers
Durham University Records

Collection details

World Cultures, Social History, Religion, Literature, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • Designated Collection
  • Sudan
  • Cosin
  • County Durham
  • Bishop
  • Cathedral
  • Dean and Chapter
  • Earl Grey
  • University
  • Archives
  • Books
  • Manuscript
  • Printed
Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Fairy woodland and map overlay

Between Worlds: Folklore and Fairy Tales from Northern Britain

  • 14 October 2017 — 25 February 2018 *on now

Close your eyes and picture a fairy. You might see a pretty little thing with wings, eager to make all your wishes come true. This is the version of fairies that we know today, but there also exists a much older, very different idea of a fairy, that might not look and act how you expect.

This new temporary exhibition takes its inspiration from medieval romance, ballads, and collections of folklore compiled between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, which tell of encounters with otherworldly creatures and journeys into mysterious worlds. It presents a forgotten type of fairy tale, very different to those that we are familiar with in today’s popular culture.

If you are visiting as a family, ask at reception for your free Fairy Investigator Pack to help you explore the exhibition.

This exhibition is supported by funding from the Leverhulme Trust.

A blog series featuring new writing from academics, artists, and curators will be running throughout the duration of the exhibition. Keep up to date here: https://betweenworldsdurham.wordpress.com/.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/details/?id=36250

Dante logo representing Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso

Hell, Heaven and Hope: a journey through life and the afterlife with Dante

  • 2 December 2017 — 18 March 2018 *on now

Look around you and the influence of medieval poet Dante Alighieri is everywhere. For centuries his work has inspired artists and writers from Botticelli to Dan Brown

This new temporary exhibition follows the story of Dante’s The Divine Comedy. Join his imagined journey through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, meeting a cast of familiar and unfamiliar characters. Reflecting the entire human experience; his work considers the power of resilience through difficult times and ultimately a message of hope.

The exhibition is brought to life through Durham University’s collections, displayed alongside books and manuscripts from the internationally-renowned collections of Mr Livio Ambrogio, on show in Durham for the first time.

Today, Dante’s influence can be found in contemporary art, literature, music, film and popular culture. His striking depictions of the consequences of sin in Inferno, the struggles of Purgatory and ultimately the splendours of Heaven reflect our own stories; the choices we make, the consequences of our decisions, our behaviour and our resilience. Look closely enough and you may even find yourself.

Details of the IMEMS Dante public lectures can be found here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/events/imems/

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Languages

  • English and Italian

Admission

Adults £4.50
Concessions £3.50
Children £3.50
Family £15.00
Under 5s FREE
Carers FREE
Groups (9 or more) £4.00 per person

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/details/?id=36803

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

North East Inheritance

http://familyrecords.dur.ac.uk/nei

The North East Inheritance project is creating of an online digital image catalogue of over 150,000 wills and related archives from across County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland. These will provide an invaluable insight into north-eastern people and communities, their family relationships, trades and lifestyles. The wills date from the 16th Century to the mid-19th Century and many are accompanied by inventories of the goods belonging to the deceased, bonds, accounts, and a variety of associated documents.

Publisher

  • Durham University Library Special Collections

Family Records Guide

http://familyrecords.dur.ac.uk

This site contains links to our resources, guides and projects that are most likely to be useful for those undertaking family history and also local history research, or wanting to study individuals and families from the archives held by Durham University Library.

Publisher

  • Durham University Library Special Collections

Remembering Slavery

http://www.dur.ac.uk/4schools/indexpages/citizenship.html

A schools workshop that challenges students to think about the transatlantic slave trade and the impact that it has had. The session is based on printed, manuscript and pictoral sources from our collections but also makes use of our slavery-related handling collection and life-sized print of the slave ship Brookes. The session can take place at our Library or in school and can be adapted to suit any Key Stage.

Creator

  • Durham University Museums and Special Collections

How to obtain

Information about the session and supporting resources can be found on our website. Please contact 4schools@durham.ac.uk for further information.

Remembering Slavery

http://www.dur.ac.uk/4schools/indexpages/citizenship.html

A collection of online resources which use printed and manuscript material to look at the history of the transatlantic slave trade. Included are a series of e-learning resources which are ready for use in the classroom; an online exhibition focusing on various aspects of the slave trade; and a number of resources designed for use on interactive whiteboards.

Creator

  • Durham University Museums and Special Collecions

Publisher

  • Durham University Library

Victorian Durham

http://www.dur.ac.uk/4schools/victoriandurham/default.html

An online resource looking at aspects of Victorian life with particular reference to Durham. It is accompanied by a specially designed walking trail for schools which takes pupils on a tour around the World Heritage Site on a quest for clues about the city's Victorian past.

Creator

  • Durham University Museums and Special Collections in collaboration with students on the MA Museum and Artefact Studies course

Publisher

  • Durham University Library

Palace Green Library
Durham University Library
Palace Green
Durham
DH1 3RN
England

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green

E-mail

pg.library@durham.ac.uk

Telephone

0191 334 2932

Fax

0191 334 2942

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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