Open Treasure

Durham Cathedral’s new exhibition experience, Open Treasure, will open on 23rd July, and there will be a number of accompanying educational workshops available.

The state-of-the-art exhibition and visitor experience has taken three years to create, and includes things to see and interactive experiences themed around the cathedral and its Anglo-Saxon, Roman and monastic heritage.

Schools visiting the new space will be able to explore the cloister; the monks’ dormitory; the newly created collections gallery; the great kitchen; and the pilgrimage and community galleries.

Among the permanent exhibits will be an extensive collection of Anglo-Saxon and Roman stones and casts, including towering crosses in the monks’ dormitory.

Open Treasure workshops

A number of workshops will be available for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 students.

Stories on the Stones for Key Stages 1 and 2 encourages students to look closely at the detailed carvings on a collection of standing crosses and stonework. Children will answer questions such as: What images can you see? And what stories do they tell? 

Key Stage 2 workshop Anglo-Saxons v. Vikings! explores a selection of the Open Treasure artefacts to discover aspects of Anglo-Saxon life through the themes of invasion, settlement, art, culture and religion.

The class will learn about the Vikings' raids and invasions in the north east, their struggle with the Anglo-Saxons for the kingdom, and their influence on the creation of Durham Cathedral.

Also suitable for Key Stage 2 is a Bones and Stone session. Children will focus on detailed Anglo Saxon grave covers and find out their significance in Anglo-Saxon life, death and culture, before having a go at creating art work using Anglo-Saxon techniques.

Monastic Daily Life, meanwhile is suitable for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. This is a Local History study focusing on the routines and lifestyle of monks living in the priory at Durham Cathedral in the past.

This session can be extended into a full day by adding on a practical workshop to find out about a monastic herb garden and how monks used herbs to make simple medicines.

Teachers who would like to book a session or require further information should contact Durham Cathedral by calling 01913-744070 or e-mailing

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