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Galleries and libraries


Museum of Archaeology

The Museum of Archaeology is located on the first floor of Palace Green Library. The gallery space opened in 2011 after undergoing a £2.3m refurbishment, funded in part by a £500,000 donation from the Wolfson Foundation. The displays explore the lives of the people who have lived in and visited Durham over the centuries through the tools and everyday objects they used, and the art and architecture they left behind to be rediscovered. Currently, the Museum of Archaeology has a temporary home in the Dennyson Stoddart Gallery on the ground floor.

Durham Light Infantry Collection Gallery

The Durham Light Infantry (DLI) has a special place in the story of County Durham. The DLI Collection Gallery tells the history of the regiment through the stories of the soldiers who made it. Learn more about their brave deeds and see the Victoria Cross awarded to Private Michael Heaviside for saving the life of his injured comrade. Discover the DLI’s surprising sporting past and marvel at what was once said to be the world’s biggest football trophy. Have fun and meet soldiers from the DLI’s past by playing our touch table game, A March Through Time.

The Dennyson Stoddart Gallery

This gallery is located on the ground floor of Palace Green Library. The opening of the Dennyson Stoddart Gallery in the Summer of 2012 was a milestone in the University’s £10 million development project at Palace Green Library. The gallery is used for a programme of changing exhibitions focusing on Durham University's collections and academic research with a particular focus on the showcasing the Archives and Special Collections housed within Palace Green Library.

The Gallery

Please note: The Gallery is currently closed for exhibition changeover and refurbishment

As part of the continuing development of Palace Green Library, this gallery space is now used to showcase works from Durham University's Art Collection. The collection includes work by some of the most significant artists of the twentieth and twenty first centuries. A programme of changing exhibitions is now making these collections accessible to the public for the first time.

University Gallery

In 2019, the University Gallery opened a permanent exhibition showcasing the story of Palace Green Library. The gallery highlights the history of the Special Collections and Archives focusing on the many manuscripts, books and archival material stored at the library and the individuals who helped create it. It also delves into the story of the Scottish soldiers who were marched to Durham from their defeat after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. By reconstructing their lives and the events that took place, we were able to share their story.

Bishop Cosin’s Library

The Library was founded by Bishop John Cosin in the 17th Century and was carefully conserved in 2011-2012. Additional work is now underway and it is hoped that the library will reopen to the public in 2022.

Barker Research Library

In October 2013 full reading room services reopened at Palace Green Library in the splendidly refurbished Barker Research Library. It is located in a stunning extension to Palace Green Library constructed in 1968 to an accoladed design by George Pace. Built overlooking the river and on the line of the old castle wall, its latticed western wall floods the library with light, creating a warm and serene atmosphere in which to study. All Special Collections’ books and archives are available in the Research Library's Search Room, and the Local Studies and History of the Book collections have returned to open access to readers. All this is accessible Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. (The Search Room at 5 The College has reverted to opening three days per week, Wednesday to Fridays from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm for researchers into the Cathedral’s archive only.) Wireless network access is available for those pre-registered on Eduroam, or upon request.

Opening hours and admission

Currently, we are offering free entry to all our visitors.

Palace Green Library is open Monday-Sunday between 10am-5pm, with late-night opening until 7pm on Thursdays (excluding Barker Research Library). We will be closed on Friday 3 June for the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday.

Cosin’s Library is open Wednesday to Sunday between 11am-3pm, plus bank holidays (excluding Platinum Jubilee, Christmas and New Year).

You can pre-book a timeslot to visit Cosin’s Library or to visit during our Thursday late-night opening.

The Special Collections can currently be accessed Monday-Friday 10am-5pm. We recommend making an appointment.