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.
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/

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

footprint modulation art installation at Oriental Museum

Footprint Modulation

  • 5 June — 5 July 2015 *on now

An exhibition of art and interventions across five venues in Durham, connecting with climate change, global justice and human displacement.

Organised by Metaceptive Projects, this exhibition interweaves with a major international conference on climate migration at Durham University.

The Oriental Museum will host work by UK-based artists who will use digital tools to create art that re-mix documentary photography and video imagery from organisations in Bangladesh and that mix the traditional with the modern. These include the leading international photographer Shahidul Alam, the acclaimed photography and media agency Drik, and the Krishok Federation of rural activists at the forefront of environmental campaigns. Bangladesh is particularly significant within the field of climate change due to the worrying projections that a vast area of its land will disappear, but also due to its leading role in positive environmental policy.



You can see other works at Durham Art Gallery, the Miners' Hall, Empty Shop HQ and Durham University. For more information go to www.footprintmodulation.net

Suitable for

  • Any age

Where

Room EH009, Elvet Hill House (adjacent to the Oriental Museum)

Admission

Normal admission prices 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.
Daruma dolls

Good Luck Dolls

  • 11 July 2015 1-3pm

Learn all about Japanese good-luck Daruma dolls, then design and paint your own. 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

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

festival of British Archaeology: digging deep

Festival of British Archaeology: Digging Deep

  • 25 July 2015 1-3pm

To celebrate the Festival of British Archaeology, we are hosting a special afternoon of hands on archaeological activities. Come along and try archaeological drawing, clean finds and brush up your excavation skills. FREE entry today!


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

Suitable for

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

Where

Oriental Museum

Admission

FREE entry today to the Museum.

Website

https://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.

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/

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

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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