Durham Cathedral has announced the long-awaited reopening of its museum this week and visitors will once again be free to peruse some of its most treasured artefacts.
What was once called Open Treasure has now been renamed Durham Cathedral Museum and is set to welcome visitors back for the first time since lockdown in 2020. From tomorrow, April 5, visitors will be free to explore – at their own pace – the likes of the former monks’ dormitory and exhibits such as St Cuthbert’s pectoral cross whose famous design is reflected in images of Durham.
Since the pandemic, these have only been seen by small groups of tourists, but now, with the lifting of restrictions, visitors can freely explore what is classified as one of the best preserved monastic spaces in the country and see the treasures of St Cuthbert. Close. To celebrate the opening, a new exhibition is also being launched, titled Crown and Cathedral: Durham’s Royal Stories.
Read more: What to see at Durham Cathedral Museum
Featuring unique items such as the royal cope – like a cape – worn by the Bishop of Durham at the Queen’s coronation as well as at those of George VI, George V and Edward VII, the exhibition will run until July 3, ensuring there is more than ever for visitors. Andrew Usher, of Durham Cathedral, said: “We are delighted to be able to reopen the museum and invite visitors to explore at their leisure.
“These spaces are incredibly impressive and full of fascinating collections that tell the story of Durham Cathedral, so we want as many people as possible to have access to them. It’s fantastic that we can fully reopen the museum, and everything it offers, after almost two years of closure.
The museum, then called Open Treasure, opened in 2016 following a £10.9m development project, supported by donations and a £3.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery fund.
It delves into 2,000 years of local history, culture and faith. For example, the dormitory, which still features the original 15th century oak timber roof, tells the story of the Benedictine monks and it is in the large octagonal kitchen that visitors can see iconic symbols of Durham including the pectoral coss and the shrine ring.
Andrew said: “Our changing exhibition space allows us to tell even more stories about Durham’s rich heritage. As County Durham celebrates being shortlisted to be crowned the UK’s City of Culture in 2025, and with the excitement of the Queen’s upcoming Platinum Jubilee, it’s fantastic that we are once again able to present our collections and to highlight the region’s links to events of national significance. .”
He added: “We take pride in caring for these and many other items in our collection and the price of each ticket purchased for admission to the Museum will allow us to care for these collections so that future generations can benefit.”
Visitors can purchase tickets to visit the museum on weekdays (last entry at 3:30 p.m.) or choose a one-hour guided tour with a guide on select Saturdays. The cost is £7.50 for adults while those under 16 can have free entry. To book online see here.