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

Discounts

  • Museums Association

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

On the Threshold II Formal Presence - exhibition at Oriental Museum Jan - May 2016

On the Threshold II: Formal Presence

  • 29 January — 19 May 2016 *on now

This exhibition aims to present the meaning of our existence in a post-internet society and the lived experience of different cultures mainly through the mediums of painting and photography while exploring the use of colour.

In the words of Jean-Luc Nancy ‘We are there without leaving the threshold, on the threshold, neither inside nor outside-and perhaps we are, ourselves, the threshold, just as our eye conforms to the plane of the canvas and weaves itself into its fabric.’

The works in this exhibition are drawn from a group of Japanese artists who are either studying in or have graduated from a number of London’s art schools: Goldsmiths College; Slade School of Art at UCL; the University of the Arts; Chelsea College of Arts and Central St. Martins. The artists’ experiences of living in London are transnational and in some ways disjunctive. Their aesthetics wander between West and East, absorbing or denying it totally. These influences are reflected in the works exhibited.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Admission

Normal museum admission applies.

Website

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

ancient lebanon exhibition at oriental museum

Ancient Lebanon

  • 18 June — 25 September 2016

The people of ancient Lebanon played a fundamental role in shaping the history of the Mediterranean and yet, despite their importance in antiquity, they remain unknown to most people today. Based on the latest research, this exhibition provides an accessible introduction to the culture and society of Lebanon in the ancient world.

Supported by the British Museum, the American University in Beirut and the National Museum of Beirut, this exhibition explores issues of faith, conflict, government, culture and trade in the ancient Levant.

Ancient treasures are displayed alongside everyday artefacts - many of which have never been displayed in the UK before - bringing to life current Durham University research into this fascinating region.

The exhibition forms the centrepiece of a summer long festival of events. Find out more as the project progresses by following us on Twitter (@ancient_lebanon) or Facebook (Ancient Lebanon: An Exhibition).


(Image: Phoenician perfume bottle in the shape of a hedgehog, around 6th century BCE, Oriental Museum number EG5333)

Contact: ancient-lebanon@outlook.com

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Admission

Normal museum admission applies.

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.
marvellous mosaics

Marvellous Mosaics

  • 6 February 2016 1-3pm *on now

Be inspired by the Oriental Museum's collections and create your own mosaic with colourful glass tiles.


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/

good luck

Good Luck!

  • 13 February 2016 From 1pm

The Oriental Museum is filled with good luck amulets from across the world. Make your own good luck charm to take home.


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

Admission

Normal museum admission

Website

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

hina matsuri at Oriental Museum Feb 2015

Hina Matsuri

  • 15 February — 3 March 2016

See the Oriental Museum's complete set of traditional Japanese Hina Matsuri dolls, only displayed for a short time each year in the run up to Hina Matsuri - the Dolls Festival - on 3rd March.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children
  • Any age

Admission

Normal museum admission prices apply. 75p per child or concession, and £1.50 per adult. Under 5's and students are FREE.

Website

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

lunar new year of the monkey

Lunar New Year - the year of the monkey

  • 15 — 21 February 2016

Celebrate the start of the Lunar New Year and have fun with self-led monkey-themed crafts and activities.

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

Suitable for

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

Admission

Normal museum admission prices apply.

Website

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

teacup travels special the jade flute

Teacup Travels Special - the jade flute

  • 17 February 2016 1-3pm

As seen on Cbeebies! Explore an amazing jade flute from China like Charlotte and Elliot, and make your own working flute.


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/

magnificent mummies

Magnificent Mummies

  • 19 February 2016 1-3pm

Did you know you can mummify a banana? Start the process, and decorate an Ancient Egyptian sarcophagus. For children aged 5-11 years. Drop in sessions.

Suitable for

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

Admission

Normal museum admission applies: Adult: £1.50. Children (5-16) and Over 60's: 75p. Family ticket (2 adults and up to three children): £3.50. Children under 5: Free.

Website

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

joyous jewellery

Glittering like gold

  • 20 February 2016 1-3pm

Explore the fabulous collection of jewellery and then create your own necklace or bracelet bling to wear with pride.
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
  • Family friendly

Where

Oriental Museum, DH1 3TH

Admission

Adults: £1.50
Children 5-16 and Over 60s: 75p
Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children): £3.50

Website

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

lunar new year of the monkey - lantern festival

Lunar New Year Lantern Festival - Year of the Monkey

  • 22 February 2016 6-8pm

Celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Monkey at the Oriental Museum on this special evening. Enjoy seeing the museum lit by lanterns, enjoy fantastic Chinese New Year crafts and storytelling, sample delicious New Year food and drink, try the gallery hunt and join in the dragon procession.

Free lanterns to the first 100 children.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Any age
  • Especially for children

Where

Oriental Museum

Admission

Admission: £1 per person (under 5's free).

Website

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

beautiful buddha

Beautiful Buddha

  • 27 February 2016 1-3pm

Find out about the story of Buddha and the famous Bodhi tree and make your own tree to take home.


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/

lets get arty

Let's get arty!

  • 5 March 2016 1-3pm

Discover the Oriental Museum's fantastic new Japanese contemporary art exhibition and create your own masterpiece using traditional Japanese art materials.

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/

hooray for hats

Hooray for hats

  • 12 March 2016 1-3pm

Explore hats and crowns from Ancient Egypt, China, Japan and India and decorate your own fabulous hat to take home.

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

Admission

Normal museum admission applies.

Website

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

light the lamps

Light the lamps

  • 19 March 2016 1-3pm

Make a traditional Chinese paper lantern in today's craft activity.


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

Admission

Normal museum admission prices apply.

Website

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

Holi Festival

Holi Festival

  • 20 March 2016 12-5pm

The event will include timed powder throws, with a free environmentally and skin-kind powder sachet of brightly coloured Holi powder for each participant.

Alongside powder throws, there will also be Holi-themed craft activities with a ticket.

There is a small charge for this event and booking is essential. Booking information is on our website.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Admission

£3 per person, under 5's are free.

Website

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

easter holiday fun

Easter Holiday Fun

  • 25 March — 10 April 2016

Trails and crafts going on every day of the school holidays. Perfect for a family day out.

Come and enjoy exploring our galleries over the Easter holidays, and visit our newly refurbished Thacker Gallery of Ancient Egypt.

•activities included in the Museum admission price and generally suitable for children aged 5 to 11.
•children MUST be accompanied by an adult.
•we are open 10am to 5pm weekdays, and 12noon to 5pm on weekends and Bank Holidays.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • 5-6
  • 7-10

Admission

Normal museum admission applies.

Website

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

super samurai

Super Samurai

  • 26 March 2016 1-3pm

Discover the history of samurai warriors in Japan, see the full suit of armour and create your own Japanese style sword.

Drop in 1-3pm, suitable for children aged 5-11 years.

Suitable for

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

Admission

Normal museum admisison applies. Adults £1.50, children (5-18) and Over 60s 75p, children under 5 FREE, family ticket (2 adults + 3 children ) £3.50

Website

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

magical moon fan

Teacup Travels Special: Magical Moon Fans

  • 30 March 2016 1-3pm

As seen on Cbeebies! Follow in the footsteps of Charlotte and Elliot and discover the stories behind the Chinese moon fan, then decorate your own fan to take home.

Drop in session for children aged 5-11 years.

Suitable for

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

Admission

Normal museum admission applies.

Website

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

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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