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Silk Roads

This major new gallery will open on 29th May 2020, transforming the ground floor of the Oriental Museum.

Silk Roads will be an introductory gallery for the whole museum, bringing together works from across our collections to tell stories of trade, travel and exchange across the continent of Asia and into Europe, all the way to Durham.

Silk, ceramics and spices have travelled these trade routes for centuries. At the same time people have exchanged knowledge, learned about other faiths and been influenced by new artistic styles.

The new gallery will feature visitor favourites such as our magnificent Chinese bed alongside objects never seen before. We will update you as the project progresses on this page. Keeping checking back for updates.


Get involved!

We are seeking the support of a diverse group of volunteers to work alongside museum staff to create the new displays for this gallery.

We are particularly keen to hear from members of the local Muslim, Asian Christian and Jewish communities to help us select and interpret objects from our collections reflecting the range of voices in our faith communities.

Over the course of a series of mixed-sex workshops, volunteers will help select objects, develop labelling and contribute to the overall layout of the displays. We want to offer participants an opportunity to explore behind the scenes at the Oriental Museum and get hands on with historic and contemporary objects in our collections. We are also keen to hear from people who are interested in helping us to develop our family activities and events programme on the faiths of the Silk Roads.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Charlotte Spink, Access and Community Engagement Officer at the Oriental Museum or telephone 0191 334 5691 for an informal chat.

Will this work affect my visit?

From 4th November 2019 we will be closing our current Marvels of China and West Asia galleries. These spaces will be transformed into the new gallery. The rest of the museum will remain open as usual and no other galleries will be affected.

Read the most recent edition of our Friends Newsletter to find out more.

Thank you!

This work has been made possible through the generous support of the DCMS/Wolfson Foundation Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund and the Arts Council for England. We are very grateful for their support.