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Special Exhibitions and Events

Current highlights at the Oriental Museum.

‘There was light’: Amunhotep III and his Dazzling Age

Using the collections of the Oriental Museum, this exhibition focuses on the family of Tutankhamun and the courtiers who surrounded them.
Egyptian statue from Oriental Museum

Guardians of the Silk Road’s Heritage: women of the mountains of Central Asia

Showcasing the artists and craftswomen who are preserving traditional knowledge and skills and popularising Central Asian folk art.
Woman with woven rugs silk road exhibition

Holi Festival

Welcome in the spring season at Holi, the Festival of Colours. Book your tickets now for this special day.
A group of people throwing brightly coloured powder at Holi Festival

Upcoming events

Ancient Chariots

Saturday 25 March, 2023
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Oriental Museum
Metal sculpture of a horse and chariot

Celebrating Bangladeshi independence

Sunday 26 March, 2023
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Oriental Museum
A map of Bangladesh, styled using the Bangladeshi flag colours

Contemporary Wood-carved Netsuke

Friday 20 January, 2023
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Oriental Museum
Contemporary Wood-carved Netsuke

Guardians of the Silk Road's Heritage: Women of the mountains of Central Asia

Saturday 1 October, 2022
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Oriental Museum
Woman with woven rugs silk road exhibition

Online exhibitions

Explore our collections from home with our online exhibition programme.

Enchanted Treasures: Russian folk art in the Kirill Sokolov collection

From fanciful clay whistles in the shape of animals to gold painted lacquer wares.
Group of three toys, one is a large yellow and blue rooster, and the smaller two are a black horse and a white fantasy creature with two heads.

Taxila in Focus: 100 Years Since Marshall

This exhibition focuses on the ancient site of Taxila, around 32 kilometres from Pakistan’s federal capital, Islamabad.
Half of the image is in black and white, showing the site in the early 20th century. The other half is a colour 21st century image.

Jericho: An Ancient City Revealed

This exhibition centres on the Oriental Museum’s collection of objects sent to Durham from Kenyon’s excavations at Jericho.
Vase excavated from Jericho

Friends of the Oriental Museum events

Find out more about forthcoming Friends events and lectures including special member’s only experiences.

Join the Friends to receive free admission to the Museum, advance notice of events and exhibitions, invitations to previews of new exhibitions and a discount on purchases from the museum shop, as well as free entry for all these lectures.

Young people sat around a craft table smiling

Regular activities

Explore our regular group activity sessions.

  • Creative Age

    Creative Age is a free, weekly art group for people living with dementia or other long-term health challenges and their carers.
    Art materials during a Creative Age session.
  • Durham Archaeology Explorers

    Our archaeology club for children, meeting monthly at the Oriental Museum as well as trips to local archaeological and heritage sites.
    Child in high-vis jacket taking part in Durham Archaeology Explorers
  • Little Dragons

    Come along to Little Dragons under-fives group and explore the Oriental Museum's fantastic collections and exhibitions.
    Toddler enjoying Little Dragons under-fives session

Creative Age

Creative Age is a free, weekly art group for people living with dementia or other long-term health challenges and their carers.
Art materials during a Creative Age session.

Durham Archaeology Explorers

Our archaeology club for children, meeting monthly at the Oriental Museum as well as trips to local archaeological and heritage sites.
Child in high-vis jacket taking part in Durham Archaeology Explorers

Little Dragons

Come along to Little Dragons under-fives group and explore the Oriental Museum's fantastic collections and exhibitions.
Toddler enjoying Little Dragons under-fives session

Permanent galleries

Explore the different regions of north Africa and Asia in our galleries, or visit the Silk Roads gallery, which combines works from across our collections.

Ancient Egypt

The Oriental Museum has two galleries dedicated to Ancient Egypt - the Thacker Gallery and the Wolfson Gallery.
View of display cases in the Thacker Gallery of Ancient Egypt with mummy and her coffin in the foreground and other funerary equipment in the display cases behind

China

Our China gallery is named after the distinguished politician and diplomat the Rt. Hon. Malcolm MacDonald.
View along the displays of ceramics in the MacDonald gallery

Himalayas, South Asia and Southeast Asia

Featuring an amazing array of objects ranging in date from 2,500 BCE to the 1960s, including ancient Indus Valley ceramics.
View down the length of the gallery with the Himalayan displays in front and Indian displays behind.

Japan

This gallery has been created in direct response to visitor interest in beauty and diversity of Japanese art and culture.
A man and a boy in a wheelchair look at displays of Japanese samurai weapons and armour, to the sides are displays of Buddhist art and objects relating to the tea ceremony.

Korea

The Korean collection is among the smallest in the Museum, but it is hugely varied and highly unusual in that it includes material from both South and North Korea.
View into the Korea Gallery from across the balcony showing all of the displays.

Silk Roads

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.
Our magnificent Chinese bed sits at the centre of the new gallery.

  

Past exhibitions

Find out more about our previous exhibitions and art installations.

Visit our Past Exhibitions page to explore more than 20 unique exhibitions.

Two action men in mountaineering gear climbing along a shelf of books.
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Lunar New Year 2023 Celebrations at the Oriental Museum

Staff, students and volunteers at the Oriental Museum welcome visitors to celebrate the Lunar New Year in style, surrounded by a wonderful collection from the Far East. See the Museum decorated with beautiful lanterns as visitors are invited to join in with traditional activities and enjoy the entertainment. Younger visitors even get to take part in the grand finale, the children’s Dragon Dance.

Explore our upcoming events

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