Oriental Museum

Oriental Museum
Durham University
Elvet Hill
Durham
DH1 3TH
England

Website

Our website

www.durham.ac.uk/oriental.museum

E-mail

All enquiries

oriental.museum@durham.ac.uk

Telephone

All enquiries

0191 334 5694

Fax

0191 334 5640

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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The Oriental Museum is the only museum in the North of Britain devoted solely to the art and archaeology of the Orient. The remarkable collections reveal the great cultures of Asia; the Near and Middle East; and North Africa.

Highlights include the Chinese and Ancient Egyptian collections, which are Designated Collections of national importance.

Venue Type:

Museum

Opening hours

Mon - Fri 10.00-17.00
Sat - Sun & Bank Holidays 12.00-17.00

Closed: Between Christmas & New Year

Admission charges

Adults: £1.50
Children 5-16 and Over 60s: 75p
Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children): £3.50
Free on production of relevant ID: Friends of the Oriental Museum, students in higher education, Durham University staff, Armed Forces, MA and NACF members

Additional info

See website for details

The Oriental Museum's collections number over 23,500 objects and range in date from prehistoric artefacts to contemporary arts. The collections cover the history and arts of the great cultures of Ancient Egypt, China, Japan, South and South East Asia and Islamic North Africa. The Chinese and Ancient Egyptian collections are Designated Collections of national importance.

The Egyptian collection is one of the best Egyptology resources in Britain. It ranges from the Pre-Dynastic to the Coptic periods in date and includes a wide selection of objects ranging from monumental sculpture to woven sandals. Numerous items of exceptional quality and international significance are included. Particular highlights are a unique 18th Dynasty boxwood carving of a Nubian servant girl; the 18th Dynasty polychrome sycamore boxes of Perpawty; and a fine 13th Dynasty granite statue of the vizier Paser.

The Chinese collection is one of the most comprehensive in Europe. It is a significant and representative collection of pieces from earlier dynasties as well as numerous fine examples from later dynasties. The museum recently purchased (2007) a portfolio of 60 contemporary Chinese prints, representing the work of many of China’s best contemporary printmakers.

Collection details

World Cultures, Weapons and War, Religion, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Archives, Archaeology

Key artists and exhibits

  • 4th Duke of Northumberland's collection of Egyptian antiquities
  • Wellcome Collection of Ancient Egyptian objects
  • Malcolm MacDonald Collection of Chinese Ceramics
  • Sir Charles Hardinge Collection of Chinese jades and bronzes
  • Henry De Laszlo Collection Chinese Collection
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Korean wedding ducks at new Korean gallery in Durham's Oriental Museum

New Permanent Gallery of Korea

  • 4 October 2013 — 4 July 2014 *on now

The oldest objects on display date back more than a thousand years to the Unified Silla Dynasty (668-935 CE) and the displays include calligraphy, ceramics, furniture and musical instruments. Researchers from Durham University's Music Department have worked with museum curators to provide recordings of all of the musical instruments on display so that visitors can hear what the Korean instruments sound like as well as see them.

Alongside the historic material are new contemporary pieces, collected by the museum specifically for this gallery. These range from contemporary Korean ceramics and textiles to K-pop and children's toys.

The gallery has been possible through the support of the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund, the Friends of the Oriental Museum and Stories of the World (part of the Cultural Olympiad for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, supported by the Arts Council for England).

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Where

Oriental Museum

Admission

Normal museum admission applies.

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/

The copper plates from Kollam: using a 9th century legal document to explore the medieval Indian Ocean World

  • 17 January — 27 April 2014 *on now

In South Asia, even until very recently, legal documents were inscribed onto copper sheets. Known as copper plate grants, these are one of the main sources for early and medieval Indian history. Although the Kollam plates have been known to European scholars since the early 19th century, they are so complex to read that they had never previously been studied as a single document. This interdisciplinary project undertook the first holistic study of this exceptional source, using it as a starting point for exploring the medieval Indian Ocean world.

The exhibition is touring around a number of universities in the UK, US and India.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children
  • 18+

Admission

Normal museum admission applies.

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/exhibitions/current

moon jar exhibition by Hyosun Kim

Reinterpreting the Korean Moon Jar

  • 28 February — 13 July 2014 *on now

The moon jar is one of the most iconic forms found in traditional Joseon Dynasty Korean art. The difficulty involved in creating the perfect ‘moon’ shape makes the moon jar a technical as well as an artistic challenge for the ceramic artist.

In this series of work Hyosun Kim explores how risk taking in the production of moon jars can produce ‘failure’ pieces that are aesthetically pleasing. Three series of jars explore the form, history and making processes. Kim explores the creative potential for taking risks during the making process and engages with the ways that technical problems in the making might lead to ‘failures’ that can be harnessed artistically to create works of great beauty.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children
  • Any age

Admission

Normal museum admission charges apply.

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/exhibitions/current

traces and revelations

Traces and Revelations

  • 4 April — 5 October 2014 *on now

Over the past 10 years, Hazem Harb and Mohammed Joha’s concepts and ideas have encompassed themes of war, loss, trauma, human vulnerability, global instability and placement and displacement. Both artists integrate the question of Palestinian identity into the more universal message of their work.

This exhibition seeks to evoke intense emotions and present an arresting, haunting portrait of a particular place and its multi-layered histories and facts, finding a new way of understanding human protest.

Traces and Revelations opens up an imaginary, parallel space in which to consider ideas of place, identity and belonging.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Where

Oriental Museum

Admission

Normal museum entrance applies.

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/

shifting sands

Shifting Sands

  • 4 April — 5 October 2014 *on now

These images chronicle Cunnison’s growing understanding of Misseriya culture and throw light on the daily life of a pastoralist community in Sudan at the end of British colonial rule. Through portraits and brief biographies of the people Cunnison got to know, this exhibition explores relationships - both within the camp and between members of this camp and Dinka communities in Abyei in the 1950s. Shifting Sands tells different stories: one of slavery and disrupted relationships, but also one of interdependence, political negotiation and intermarriage between these two communities. It illustrates a complex history of coercion and cooperation in Sudan and South Sudan’s now bitterly contested borderlands.

This exhibition is supported by The Centre for Visual Arts and Culture.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Where

Oriental Museum

Admission

Normal museum admission prices apply.

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/exhibitions/current/

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.
banana mummifying

Magnificent Mummies

  • 26 April 2014 1-3pm

Find out about ancient Egyptian mummies, make your own and start the process of mummifying a banana to finish at home. Suitable for children aged 5-11 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children
  • 5-6
  • 7-10
  • Especially for children

Admission

Normal museum admission prices apply.

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/

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.

Turning Japanese

This schools workshop session offers students the chance to experience a wide range of activities aimed at increading knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture. Activities include a gallery trail, making a Japanese kite, and origami. Schools can also combine this session with a visit to the nearby Botanic Garden to look at the plants that inspire Japanese art.
(Group size: noramlly one class but larger groups may be able to be accommodated; Duration: 2-4 hours; Level: KS2)

Creator

  • Durham University Museums and Special Collections

Life in Ancient Egypt

A schools workshop looking at life in Ancient Egypt. The children make extensive use of our galleries and handling collection to explore the subject in depth. There is also the opportunity to participate in role play and mummify some fruit.
(Group size: normally 30 but more by arrangement; Duration: 4 hours including lunch; Level: KS2)

Creator

  • Durham University Museums and Special Collections

How to obtain

For information about booking a visit, please see our website - www.dur.ac.uk/4schools/indexpages/visits.html

Marvels of China

In this schools workshop session children will have the chance to participate in a wide range of activities from exloring the symbolism in Chinese art to having a go at producing their own scrolls. Students will also have the opportunity to take part in a gallery trail, handle original artefacts and engage in fun craft activities.
(Group size: normally up to 30 but larger classes by arrangement; Duration: 2-4 hours; Level: KS2)

Creator

  • Durham University Museums and Special Collections

Treasures of the Oriental Museum, Durham University

On 30th June 2010 the Oriental Museum launched a major new publication to commemorate the Golden Jubilee. This book includes 50 short essays by curators, artists, students, researchers and collectors from the UK and around the world. Eash essay offers a different view on an object from the collections accompanied by all new colour photography of these stunning objects.

Publisher

  • TMI Group

How to obtain

Order forms can be downloaded from our website, or you can order via the Durham University Retail Office website: www.dur.ac.uk/university.shop/

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