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Durham Castle Museum

Museum Collections

Since 1989 Durham Castle has been home to Durham Castle Museum. The Museum collections include items relating to the history of Durham Castle, the Prince Bishops and University College, Durham University.

The Castle is unusual in that is has never been home to a family and the collections of the museum therefore differ substantially to those of many other castles. Each new bishop had to bring his own furnishings and then take them when he left. That being said, artefacts relating to a number of Prince Bishops do survive. The collections comprise oil paintings, tapestries, arms and armour, silver, crockery and some furniture dating from the 17th century onwards. Much of this material was collected by Bishops Cosin and Crewe between 1660 and 1721, but Bishop Maltby (1836-56) also left some of his furniture to the University and the University itself has added to the collection since taking over the Castle in the 1830s. 

Much of the collection is accessible to visitors since large amounts are on permanent display around the Castle. As the Castle is still a living building many objects in the collection are also still in use. 

Durham Castle Museum is part of Durham University Museums, together with the Oriental Museum and Museum of Archaeology. All three museums support teaching and research within the University and the wider academic and local communities. 

If you wish to use the Durham Castle collections for teaching or research please contact Curator of University Museums, Dr Craig Barclay. Museum staff are happy to provide information on the collections, supply publication quality images and arrange for research visits. As all staff work across a number of sites, please contact us as early as possible in the planning of your project so that we can plan staff time to support your research alongside that of our other researchers.