Oriental Museum

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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.

China in the MacDonald Gallery

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

Highlights include Tang dynasty tomb models, an exquisite Song dynasty Dingware wedding bowl, a shufu cup and Qing dynasty monochromes.

This gallery is named after Rt. Hon. Malcolm MacDonald, the politician and diplomat.

MacDonald was also a passionate collector of Chinese ceramics and the backbone of this gallery is dedicated to fulfilling his dream of creating a chronological display of the development of this most Chinese of art forms from the Neolithic to the present day.

The Oriental Museum’s Chinese collections have been granted Designated Collection status in recognition of their national and international importance and the rest of this gallery does not disappoint. Highlights include ancient burial jades - including rare body protectors - and ceremonial weapons. There are also ancient bronzes and intricately carved Ming and Qing dynasty jade ornaments.

This gallery was funded by the Designation Development Fund and the Art Fund.

Suitable for

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/details/?id=20817

West Asia

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

This region of the world has always been a melting pot of beliefs, cultures and artistic traditions. This rich and complex heritage is reflected in the displays in this area.

Focusing on the early centuries of Islam, these displays are only a taster of the depth of this collection. We are working on a new gallery to cover this region in more depth which we are aiming to open in March 2017. In the meantime, these interim displays have been designed to give a flavour of Islamic arts and crafts and include ceramics, calligraphy and metalwork from across the region.

Suitable for

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/details/?id=20816

Korea

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Korean collections are among the smallest in the museum but they are also hugely varied. Support from a number of funders has also enabled us to expand the collection specifically for this space.

This gallery features musical instruments, furniture, ceramics, calligraphy, and scholar’s implements dating from the United Silla dynasty (668-935 CE) to the present day.

Funding has come from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund
the Art Fund
the Friends of the Oriental Museum
and the Arts Council for England, via Stories of the World (part of the Cultural Olympiad for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games).

Suitable for

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/details/?id=20814

Japan

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

See Edo Period wood block prints alongside cels from anime movies
vintage kimono alongside modern street fashion
centuries old ceramics alongside pieces by 20th and 21st century masters.

This gallery has been created in direct response to visitor interest in contemporary Japanese art and culture. Thanks to generous funding by the Art Fund, the Museum has been able to acquire a range of contemporary Japanese art, fashion and domestic goods that complement our historic Japanese collections.

Funding has been provided by the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund and the Art Fund.

Suitable for

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/details/?id=20813

Ancient Egyptian art and archaeology

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

This gallery has been designed to introduce younger visitors to Ancient Egypt. Displays cover those topics usually taught at school such as food and farming, building, writing and beliefs.

Labelling has been designed to help parents and teachers guide younger visitors, but there is plenty here for everyone to enjoy.

While younger visitors are playing with the toy pyramid and temple, or trying out a word search, others can enjoy looking at amulets, animal mummies, and exquisite jewellery. Then why not try out our giant game of senet, played by the ancient Egyptians?

This gallery was funded by the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund.

Suitable for

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/details/?id=20812

Marvels of China

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

Laid out thematically, the gallery covers topics such as family and home, scholars, agriculture, festivals and arts and crafts.

A large activity area features dressing-up costumes and activity sheets for younger visitors as well as comfy sofas for parents and carers. Replicas of the famous terracotta warriors guard the gallery, painted to look as they would have done when they were buried.

Gallery highlights include imperial porcelain, finely carved lacquer, intricate silver jewellery and a wonderful Chinese bed - made without nails or screws.

This gallery was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Designation Development Fund.

Suitable for

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/details/?id=20810

Himalayas, India and South East Asia

  • 13 February 2015 — 1 November 2018 *on now

See highlights from our collection of Gandharan sculpture, the earliest artistic style to represent the Buddha, marvel at exquisitely fine Indian jades and enjoy objects from Burma, Brunei, Sarawak and other parts of South East Asia.

The development of this gallery is being supported by the Arts Council for England and the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund.

Suitable for

Website

http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/details/?id=20815

pilgrimage: pathways to enlightenment

Pilgrimage: pathways to enlightenment

  • 22 May — 24 September 2015 *on now

An exhibition created by students studying for the MA in Museum and Artefact Studies, showcasing artefacts related to pilgrimages from the heartlands and furthest reaches of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.

The exhibition is based around key pilgrimages from each religion and focuses on themes of pilgrimage travel (a key component of any spiritual journey) and how it has changed over time, water and light (which are deeply embedded in all of our chosen religious pilgrimages) and the theme of individual relationships to such holy and powerful undertakings.

Through display and discussion of these themes we want to take a step towards understanding the spiritual dimensions that pilgrimage can take on in the eyes of those who engage in them.

https://durhampilgrimageexhibition.wordpress.com/

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Normal museum admission charges apply.

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/exhibitions/

nissan 30 years on exhibition at Oriental Museum

Nissan: 30 Years On

  • 12 June — 18 October 2015 *on now

The North East of England has a longstanding relationship with Japan, dating back to the export of North East technology in the late 19th century, through to the building of Japanese warships on Tyneside in 1905.

In 1984, against a backdrop of the miners' strike and a Conservative government lead by Margaret Thatcher, Nissan Motors signed an agreement to build a car factory on a greenfield site on the outskirts of Sunderland. Two years later, the first car rolled off the production line. Since then Nissan has become the biggest employer in the region, with production passing 8 million vehicles.

Although much has been documented of the long mining and industrial heritage of the North East and its legacy, little has been gathered about today’s way of life for those working for modern day manufacturing organisations like Nissan. Working collaboratively, photographer James Sebright and writer/audio artist Rachel Cochrane have sought to redress this balance. Taking a broad remit, they have explored how Nissan has impacted the lives of people in the region, to create a present-day snapshot of the effect of 30 years of Nissan in the North East.


This project is sponsored by Durham University and Arts Council England and is supported by the Oriental Museum, North East Chamber of Commerce and Nissan Motors UK.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Any age

Where

Oriental Museum

Admission

Normal museum admission prices apply.

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/exhibitions/

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.
powerful paint

Powerful Paint

  • 5 September 2015 1-3pm

Explore the tiniest portraits of the Indian Mughal Emperors and create your own masterpiece.


Advice for parents and caregivers:
•Drop in (any time between 1 and 3 pm) unless otherwise stated.
•Children MUST be accompanied by an adult.

Suitable for

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

Where

Oriental Museum

Admission

Normal admission applies.

Website

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

terracotta warrior

Cheerful Chinese Crafts

  • 12 September 2015 1-3pm

Enjoy free entry and Chinese craft activities for Heritage Open Days.


Advice for parents and caregivers:
•drop in (any time between 1 and 3 pm) unless otherwise stated.
•this activity is generally suitable for children aged 5 to 11.
•children MUST be accompanied by an adult.

Suitable for

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

Where

Oriental Museum, DH1 3TH

Admission

Free entry today (and all weekend) for Heritage Open Days

Website

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

Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days: Oriental Museum

  • 12 — 13 September 2015

The Oriental Museum is the only museum in the north of England devoted entirely to the art and archaeology of the Orient. Our world class collections include more than 30,000 objects relating to Egypt, China, Japan, India and other great cultures of Asia and the Near and Middle East. Founded in 1960 to support teaching and research at Durham University, the museum is now open to everyone. Come along and see Ancient Egyptian mummies, Chinese porcelain created for the imperial court, Japanese woodblock prints and head-hunting swords from Borneo.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/directory/oriental-museum1

heritage open days logo

Heritage Open Days

  • 12 — 13 September 2015 12-5pm

We are the only museum in the north of England devoted entirely to the art and archaeology of the Orient. Our world class collections include more than 30,000 objects relating to Egypt, China, Japan, India and other great cultures of Asia and the Near and Middle East. Founded in 1960 to support teaching and research at Durham University, the museum is now open to everyone.

Come along for FREE this weekend, explore our galleries and enjoy talks by our curators on both days.

Talks by one of our curators, entitled 'Curator's Choice: the top-10 objects on display in the museum', will be taking place at 2pm on both days.

Free children's crafts will be available on Saturday afternoon (1-3pm drop in).


No need to book, just turn up on the day.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Admission

FREE entry all weekend.

Website

http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/directory/oriental-museum1

food glorious food

Food Glorious Food

  • 19 September 2015 1-3pm

Let us whet your taste buds with some Japanese food. Try everything from pickled ginger to miso soup and, of course, try the chopstick challenge.


Advice for parents and caregivers:
•Drop in (any time between 1 and 3 pm) unless otherwise stated.
•This activity is included in the Museum admission price and is generally suitable for children aged 5 to 11.
•Children MUST be accompanied by an adult.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children
  • Especially for children
  • Family friendly
  • Any age

Admission

Normal museum admission prices apply.

Website

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

perfect pots

Perfect Pots

  • 26 September 2015 1-3pm

Enjoy searching for the many vases and pots in our galleries, and sculpt your own clay pot, or decorate a porcelain vase.


Advice for parents and caregivers:
•drop in (any time between 1 and 3 pm) unless otherwise stated.
•this activity is included in the Museum admission price and is generally suitable for children aged 5 to 11.
•children MUST be accompanied by an adult.

Suitable for

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

Admission

Normal museum admission applies

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/details/?id=25135

interesting indus crafts for children

Interesting Indus

  • 3 October 2015 1-3pm

The Indus Valley was home to one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Find out about these ancient peoples and create your own terracotta seal. A must for any budding archaeologist!


Advice for parents and caregivers:
•Drop in (any time between 1 and 3 pm) unless otherwise stated.
•This activity is included in the Museum admission price and is generally suitable for children aged 5 to 11.
•Children MUST be accompanied by an adult.

Suitable for

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

Where

Oriental Museum, Elvet Hill, South Road, Durham, DH1 3TH

Admission

Normal museum admission applies.

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/family/

zoom zoom zoom

Zoom Zoom Zoom!

  • 10 October 2015 1-3pm

Nissan have been manufacturing cars in the northeast for over 30 years. View this fantastic exhibition and create your own fantasy car.

Suitable for children aged 5-11 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • 5-6
  • 7-10

Admission

Normal museum admission applies.

Website

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

magnificent manga

Magnificent Manga

  • 17 October 2015 1-3pm

To celebrate Durham Book Festival, explore the Oriental Museum's collection of Japanese Manga comics and create your own to take home.


Advice for parents and caregivers:
•This activity is drop in (any time between 1 and 3 pm) unless otherwise stated.
•This activity is included in the Museum admission price and is generally suitable for children aged 5 to 11.
•Children MUST be accompanied by an adult.

Suitable for

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

Where

Oriental Museum, DH1 3TH

Admission

Normal museum admission prices apply.

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/

terrific thangkas crafts

Terrific Thangkas

  • 24 October 2015 1-3pm

Thangkas are Buddhist paintings on cloth. Create your own large fabric painting to take home. Aprons provided.

Suitable for

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

Admission

Normal museum admission charges apply. £1.50 per adult and 75p per child or concession.

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/family/

celebrate science crafts

Celebrate Science: Ancient Egyptian Astronomy

  • 28 October 2015 1-3pm

'Celebrate Science' at the Oriental Museum and find out how and why the Ancient Egyptians explored the night sky and make your own telescope.

Suitable for

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

Admission

Normal museum admission prices apply.

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/whatson/family/

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/

Oriental Museum
Durham University
Elvet Hill
Durham
DH1 3TH
England

Website

www.durham.ac.uk/oriental.museum

E-mail

All enquiries

oriental.museum@durham.ac.uk

Telephone

All enquiries

0191 334 5694

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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