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Oriental Museum

What's On

The Oriental Museum has a busy programme of events for adults and families relating to our collections and temporary exhibitions. See below for What's On. If you would like us to email you when we have special events, please let us know at

Information on the Friends of the Oriental Museum Lecture Series and other Friends events can be found on the Friends page. To find out about events taking place right across Durham University look at the University What's On Guide.

Family Activities

All activities run 1-3pm and are drop-in, unless otherwise stated.


April 2014

Saturday 26th April - Magnificent Mummies

Find out about ancient Egyptian mummies, make your own and start the process of mummifying a banana to finish at home.


May 2014

Saturday 3rd May - Scary Snakes

Take inspiration from two fascinating objects in the Japanese Galley and create a moving snake or crab.


Saturday 10th May - Crazy Cookies

Make your own edible fortune cookies and write special fortunes for your friends and family.


Saturday 17th May - Super Soap Carving

Explore the Oriental Museum's collections and carve your own masterpiece from soap.


May Half Term Holiday

Saturday 24th May - Super Socks

Check out our fun Korean socks and create your own pair of K-pop inspired socks featuring your favourite cartoon or gaming character.

Wednesday 28th May - Marvellous Music

To tie in with the Oriental Museum hosting the East Asian Music Festival, visit us to make your own Asian musical instrument.


Friday 30th May - Children's Day

Learn about Children's Day in Japan, and make a carp kite or a Samurai helmet.


Saturday 31st May - Mosaic Mania

Find out about mosaics in the ancient world and create your own unique design from glass tiles to take home.


Advice for parents and caregivers:

  • All activities are drop in (any time between 1 and 3 pm) unless otherwise stated.
  • All activities are included in the Museum admission price and are generally suitable for children aged 5 to 11.
  • Children MUST be accompanied by an adult.

Musicon Festival of East Asian Music

Tuesday 27 to Thursday 29 May 2014

We are delighted to be the host of this year’s Musicon Festival of East Asian music. With the artifacts complementing the music (and vice versa), each of the three evening concerts is sure to take listeners on a journey to the Far East. Complimentary refreshments and an opportunity to view the exhibits are included in the ticket price.

Individual concert tickets can be purchased or you can buy a passe-partout for £25 or £10 (students) for the festival.

Please note: Doors open at 7:00pm and each interval is 20 minutes.


The Chinese Zheng Forever: Two Generations in Harmony

Tuesday 27 May 2014 7.30 pm, Oriental Museum, Elvet Hill

Widely respected for their virtuosity and versatility, Qu Yun and her daughter Sun Zhuo are masters of the zheng zither. They are leading figures in the Qin zheng style, which hails from their own home town of Xi’an, the ancient walled capital of Imperial China. Tonight’s programme highlights this style with a selection of traditional and contemporary pieces.


A Korean Musical Journey: Sound, Silence, and Spirit

Wednesday 28 May 2014 7.30 pm, Oriental Museum, Elvet Hill

The prize-winning composer Yoon Hyejin presents a selection of inspirational traditional Korean music together with some of her own compositions, including a world premiere. In her colourful and soulful music, Yoon draws upon ancient Eastern philosophies and aesthetics, masterfully combining the sounds of the female voice, gayageum (twelve-stringed zither), piri (oboe), daegeum (flute), saenghwang (mouth organ) and jing (gong).


Japanese Blossom in Three Colours

Thursday 29 May 2014 7.30 pm, Oriental Museum, Elvet Hill

Three of the UK’s leading performers of Japanese music present diverse traditional pieces from Okinawa and the Japanese mainland. Robin Thompson performs songs from Okinawa’s Ryukyuan classical repertoire, accompanying himself on the sanshin (snakeskin-covered lute). Clive Bell showcases the hauntingly evocative shakuhachi (bamboo flute). Both are joined by Keiko Kitamura on the elegant koto (thirteen-stringed zither).

Tickets for all above concerts: £10, Students £4, Under 18s £1 Box Office: Gala Theatre, Millennium Place, Durham Tel: 03000 266600


Little Dragon Club

Our Little Dragon Club is an exciting and stimulating club for young children between 0 and 5 years old. Sessions runs every Wednesday, from 10-11am. 


Durham Archaeology Explorers Club

If you are aged between 7 and 11 years, then book onto our Durham Archaeology Explorers (DAX) Club, which meets once a month. Join in and be inspired by archaeology!