We visited the Durham University Oriental Museum a few weeks ago. This is a place that’s been on my list to go to for a long time but I’ve never quite made it before. If you’ve got a fan of all things Egyptian living in your house, or you know someone fascinated by all things from China or Japan, then it is definitely worth a trip to the Oriental Museum. The museum displays everything so well that even the youngest visitors will be able to get involved.
There is a small car park outside the building, which is free, though entrance to the museum is £1.50 for adults, over 65s and children aged 5 and over 75p. Infants and students are free.
Inside there are several floors and mezzanines which take you around the building and through various displays, exploring cultures, history and geography. The displays are wonderful and varied, with some large items like a wooden bed and tiny items like jewellery. The Egypt collection is the largest in the North East and has items such as gold amulets and stone sculptures. Find out about Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and more in the India and South Asia collection, and I found the small but varied Korean collection fascinating; it includes ceramics, furniture and metal instruments. Current special exhibitions include the Shogun’s Cultured Warriors and Daily Life in Ancient Lebanon.
In each section there are tables with colouring pencils and different worksheets or colouring pages, which was absolutely brilliant for James and Noah to enjoy while we were actually able to look at the exhibits. There are also plenty of dress-up stations, too, along with several sensory exploration points, and toys, like Playmobil in the Egyptian exhibit.
The Oriental Museum also houses five items from the CBeebies programme Teacup Travels, though to appreciate those I think you need to be older than my boys!
There is a café, though we didn’t try it out on this visit. The shop houses too many cute things, and pretty reasonably priced, so you have been warned! We came away with a gift for everyone!
There is also the Little Dragons Club each Wednesday for Under 5s include songs, story time, crafts, role-play, gallery hunts and object handling, all of which really sounds fun.
All in all, for every age, there is something to enjoy in the Oriental Museum.