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Celebrate the Year of the Dragon

Join us this February to celebrate Lunar New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. We have a range of activities and events planned for the whole Spring Festival fortnight.

Voices: contemporary art and craft from the Middle East and North Africa

An exhibition celebrating the work of emerging contemporary artists and designers from the Middle East and North Africa recently acquired by the Oriental Museum.

The artists featured in this exhibition come from Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Yemen, Jordan and Palestine. Some still live in their home countries, while others have been forced to flee due to conflict or oppression. For some of the emerging artists, this will be the first time their work has been exhibited in the UK.

photographic artwork

Plan Your Visit

Find out everything you need to know to get the most from our visit: how to find us, opening times and more. Plus, everything you need to know if you or anyone in your group has any special needs or requirements.

‘The Orient’ is not an area with defined geographical boundaries. The term can mean widely differing things to different people. In the case of the Oriental Museum, the definition is a wide one indeed, with the collections covering a huge area from North Africa to South East Asia. This is the legacy of the origins of the Oriental Museum in the teaching of oriental languages at Durham University.

The museum will close at 4pm on Saturday 24th February to prepare for the Lantern Festival event. 

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Upcoming events

Quack Quack Duck

Wednesday 21 February, 2024
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Oriental Museum
Korean wooden wedding ducks, painted. The ducks are carved from wood, have a flat base and an independently movable head which turns from side to side. The ducks are completely painted aside from the base which has a column of Korean hanja stamped in blue ink which describes the makers details.

Super Sculptures

Friday 23 February, 2024
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Oriental Museum
A parent and child are sat smiling whilst colouring in a craft activity in the Silk Roads Gallery of the Oriental Museum

Hooray for Hieroglyphs

Saturday 24 February, 2024
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Oriental Museum
This stela records an elaborate form of the funeral offering formula addressed to Osiris, Wepwawet, Heket, Khnum and the other gods of Abydos. Stelae such as this were set up by pilgrims visiting the shrine of Osiris at Abydos with a view to participating in and benefiting from its festivals eternally. The stela is for the benefit of a steward named Dedu.

Lunar New Year Lantern Festival Late Night Opening

Saturday 24 February, 2024
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Oriental Museum
A group of dancers performing at the Oriental Museum

Our collections

Find out more about the history of the museum and our collections.

  • China

    This internationally important collection has strengths in ceramics and jade.
    Qing dynasty imperial dragon robe
  • Egypt and Sudan

    More than 7000 objects ranging in date from prehistory to the Christian Period.
    Anhydrite cosmetics flask in the form of a trussed duck dating to the 2nd Intermediate Period
  • Japan

    The fastest growing collection boosted by significant recent donations of ceramics and woodblock prints.
    Ivory carving of a weaver and his family, dated to around 1913

China

This internationally important collection has strengths in ceramics and jade.
Qing dynasty imperial dragon robe

Egypt and Sudan

More than 7000 objects ranging in date from prehistory to the Christian Period.
Anhydrite cosmetics flask in the form of a trussed duck dating to the 2nd Intermediate Period

Japan

The fastest growing collection boosted by significant recent donations of ceramics and woodblock prints.
Ivory carving of a weaver and his family, dated to around 1913
Group of stone objects with ties around them to attach labels, with museum object numbers tied to them

Search our collections

We welcome anyone who wishes to study our collections. Find out more about searching our collections online and how to make a research appointment.

Search our collections
A child examining a stone

Learning and Engagement

The Oriental Museum has a range of activities, workshops and events for schools, home learners, families, visitors and a range of groups.

Schools and Home Learning Families and Lifelong Learning
This is a fabulous small specialist museum, containing exhibits from China, Japan, India and Egypt among others. It contains a fascinating range of artifacts, beautifully curated and accompanied by commentaries, videos, etc.. It is on four levels, but accessible to all. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable…. We spent a couple of hours, but could easily have stayed longer, as each exhibit is worthy of attention. One of our best experiences when visiting Durham.
Katyportwood
United Kingdom

International partnerships

We support learning, teaching and research across the University and worldwide. Find out more about some of our major international partnerships.

  • National Museum of Japanese History

    Bringing together specialists from the Oriental Museum and the National Museum of Japanese History to work on a wide range of projects.
    National Museum of Japanese History signing of Memorandum of Understanding
  • Palace Museum Beijing

    Bringing together two world renowned centres of research and excellence for the first time.
    Visitors to the Lonquan of the World exhibition look at a lantern on loan from the Oriental Museum
  • University of Malaya

    Curators at the Oriental Museum have been working with the University of Malaya to research important Chinese ceramics collections.
    2019 Malaysia Museums Workshop in Kuala Lumpur

National Museum of Japanese History

Bringing together specialists from the Oriental Museum and the National Museum of Japanese History to work on a wide range of projects.
National Museum of Japanese History signing of Memorandum of Understanding

Palace Museum Beijing

Bringing together two world renowned centres of research and excellence for the first time.
Visitors to the Lonquan of the World exhibition look at a lantern on loan from the Oriental Museum

University of Malaya

Curators at the Oriental Museum have been working with the University of Malaya to research important Chinese ceramics collections.
2019 Malaysia Museums Workshop in Kuala Lumpur

Nearby attractions

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Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre

Find out everything you need to know to make the most of your visit to Durham.
Cosin's Library Bookcases

Durham Castle

Sitting at the heart of Durham's World Heritage Site and occupied continuously since the 11th century.
A Castle Tour in the Great Hall of Durham Castle.

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