Durham University Collections

There are three museums at Durham University: the Oriental Museum, the Museum of Archaeology and the Castle Museum.

The Oriental Museum

boasts a huge range of artworks and archaeological artefacts from the great cultures of northern Africa and Asia; there are more than 32,000 objects, ranging in date from prehistory to the present day. The Ancient Egyptian and Chinese collections hold ‘Designated Status’ in recognition of their national and international importance.


The Museum of Archaeology

is largely focused on the archaeology of North East England but the collection also includes national and international artefacts. Much of the collection was excavated by members of Durham University’s Department of Archaeology and is accompanied by detailed archival material.


The Castle Museum

is part of the Durham UNESCO World Heritage Site and holds collections relating to the history of Durham Castle, the Prince Bishops, and University College, as well as oil paintings, tapestries, arms and armour, silver, crockery, and furniture.


Palace Green Library

houses the Durham University Archives and Special Collections. 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

Palace Green Library also houses three family libraries of significant historical interest: the Cosin Library, the Bamburgh Library and the Routh Library.

Durham University is home to a collection of around 6000 Western Art works, largely from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and is especially strong in print-based work. The collection has been built up over an extended time period but particularly so in the last five years. It features work by some of the twentieth century’s most significant and prolific artists.

Some lovely books out on our monastic tables in the Refectory Library, ready to welcome delegates from the @ResearchDurham conference. #DurhamRRL https://t.co/NEoNy7kEE0 SouthernGemGal photo

I greatly enjoyed the panels I saw at @ResearchDurham conf the past two days. @ElizabethCBiggs discussed an interesting copy of the Malleus Maleficarum held at Durham, while @EilishGregory revealed the extent of letters/material held at Ushaw concerning 18thC recusancy in Britain

Some lovely books out on our monastic tables in the Refectory Library, ready to welcome delegates from the @ResearchDurham conference. #DurhamRRL https://t.co/NEoNy7kEE0 ResearchDurham photo

Here's @AbbotsMedieval revealing some of the hidden treasures in Ushaw College's Big Library at Durham's inaugural RRL conference. @ResearchDurham @UshawLibrary https://t.co/EHL3hk7Z7G ResearchDurham photo

Had a fantastic time at @ResearchDurham conference in Durham. Was great to see familiar faces and meet new ones and to hear a vast array of papers across a long time period. I will probably try and sum up a few papers I heard tomorrow. Until then: https://t.co/xcdF6Debtu ResearchDurham photo

On the train home after the fantastic #DurhamRRL conference with lots to think about; thanks to @ResearchDurham, @IMEMSDurham and all the presenters!