Durham University’s World Heritage Site visitor attractions will be open to the public from Tuesday 20th July for the first time since March 2020.
Visitors will now be able to see the Palace Green Library for free, including the Museum of Archaeology’s new exhibition which explores the fascinating prehistoric and Roman archaeology of Durham. This exhibition features local artefacts, many of which will be showcased for the very first time. Some of the highlighted pieces are two Bronze Age hoards and Roman objects from the Piercebridge River Assemblage, including coins, jewellery as well as stunningly rare artefacts like a razor handle decorated with socks and sandals, and horse and turtle shaped brooches.
Palace Green Library also houses the Durham Light Infantry Collection Gallery which tells the story of the regiment and its presence at some of the most important historical events.
The reopening will also see the very first visitors to the newly relocated World Heritage Site Visitor Centre, which has been moved from Owengate to its new location within the Palace Green Library. This new centre will provide visitors with an overview of the whole World Heritage Site alongside information about what it means to be a World Heritage Site, what makes Durham special and what there is to see and do on the peninsula.
Durham Castle will also be reopened to the public, which will allow visitors to explore the Castle and its 1,000 year history in the form of self-guided visits. These self-guided tours allow the public to explore at their own pace, but guides and volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions.
This reopening is particularly prominent given the lengthy closures faced by the site which has been closed to the public since the start of the first UK lockdown in March 2020. During this time, staff have worked tirelessly to improve the site overall as well as create ways in which the public can be welcomed back safely and in line with government guidance.
Gemma Lewis, Curator of Durham Castle and Museum of Archaeology, said: “We are really excited to be opening the new temporary exhibition, showing Roman and Prehistoric objects and tell new stories about the local history. At the same time, we will be opening the Castle again to allow visitors to explore a Castle with over 1,000 years of living history and a site where stories are still being written.”