10 things you should know before visiting Open Treasure

Planning a trip to Open Treasure when it opens next weekend? Here are 10 things you should know before you visit, from practical information about tickets to fascinating facts about the incredible spaces along the exhibition route!

  1. Open Treasure is a permanent new exhibition experience located at the heart of Durham Cathedral’s medieval monastic buildings. There is a modest charge to enter Open Treasure, but entry to the Cathedral Church remains free for all.
  2. Open Treasure tickets cost £7.50 for adults, £6 for concessions and £2.50 for children aged 5-18. Open Treasure is free for under 5s, and annual passes are also available to take advantage of the rolling programme of exhibitions in the Collections Gallery
  3. Tickets are available online and from the Visitor Desk in the Cathedral. Tickets are available in advance or on the day of your visit. Visitors will be able to choose an hourly time slot to make the most of their visit to Open Treasure. To book tickets online, please click here.
  4. Open Treasure will be open 7 days a week, from 10.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Saturday (last entry 4.00pm) and from 12.30pm – 5.00pm on Sundays (last entry 4.00pm).
  5. Open Treasure is an interactive visitor experience for visitors of all ages. Exhibits in the Monks’ Dormitory evoke the sights, sounds and smells of life in a medieval monastery, and there is even the chance for children to dress up as a monk!
  6. Durham Cathedral has made Open Treasure as accessible as possible, no easy feat in a medieval building! There is lift access throughout and an accessible toilet half-way through the exhibition route. Seating is also available in the Monks’ Dormitory and Great Kitchen so you can take time out to admire the incredible architecture.
  7. Open Treasure will transform public access to the Cathedral’s collections, which have been hidden away for many years. Don’t miss the stunning church plate and metalwork exhibition in the Great Kitchen, which will eventually house the Treasures of St Cuthbert following a period of environmental monitoring.
  8. Highlights of Open Treasure include the Monks’ Dormitory, the UK’s only intact surviving monastic dormitory with an original fourteenth-century oak ceiling, and the Great Kitchen, one of only two surviving monastic kitchens in the UK.
  9. Open Treasure staff and volunteers will be on hand throughout the exhibition route to answer any questions you might have and provide a friendly welcome to all visitors.
  10. And last but certainly not least, the spaces along the Open Treasure exhibition route, along with Durham Cathedral’s Cloister, represent the most intact surviving set of medieval monastic buildings in the UK! Nowhere else can you feel such a palpable sense of history and imagine the scale of the medieval monasteries which were once found all over the UK until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Durham survived relatively unscathed, and the buildings that remain provide a unique insight into life in a medieval monastery, whilst revealing the story of Durham Cathedral and its incredible collections.

We look forward to welcoming you to Open Treasure at Durham Cathedral, open to the public from Saturday 23 July 2016. To book tickets online, please click here.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has supported Open Treasure with a grant of £3.9 million.

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Ten things you didn’t know about Open Treasure

The launch of Open Treasure, Durham Cathedral’s new world-class exhibition experience, is just around the corner!

Open to the public from Saturday 23 July 2016, this spectacular new visitor attraction will reveal the remarkable story of Durham Cathedral and its incredible collections, with interactive exhibits and activities for visitors of all ages.

To whet your appetite, here are ten things you might not know about Open Treasure and the spectacular spaces along the exhibition route:

  1. Open Treasure is located at the heart of Durham Cathedral’s claustral buildings, which together represent the most intact surviving set of medieval monastic buildings in the UK.
  2. The journey begins in the magnificent fourteenth-century Monks’ Dormitory, the only intact monastic dormitory in the UK with an original oak-beamed ceiling rivalled only by Westminster Hall in London.
  3. Over the last 700 years, the Monks’ Dormitory has been a dormitory, a library and even included a two-storey house at one point!
  4. The Monks’ Dormitory includes a timeline exploring the history of Durham Cathedral. Interactive exhibits and activities will evoke the atmosphere of life in the medieval monastery with sights, sounds and smells!
  5. 89 new doors have been hand-crafted for the book cases in the Monks’ Dormitory by the Cathedral’s joiners. Each door had to be individually hand-crafted and stained because the nineteenth-century book cases were all different sizes.
  6. The new state-of-the-art Collections Gallery includes specially designed cases created by two prestigious case manufacturing firms, Goppion and Bruns, who have also designed cases for The Louvre and The Rijksmuseum amongst others.
  7. The Cathedral’s collections include over 75,000 items, including 30,000 early printed books and manuscripts, some of which will be displayed as part of a rolling programme of exhibitions in the Collections Gallery.
  8. The visitor experience continues in the Great Kitchen, a stunning space which is one of only two surviving monastic kitchens in the UK.
  9. The Great Kitchen once catered for the monks of Durham Cathedral’s monastery and was used as a kitchen until the 1940s. You can still see evidence of the fireplaces, a bread oven and even a spit!
  10. The Great Kitchen will eventually house the Treasures of St Cuthbert, following a period of environmental monitoring. These extraordinary artefacts represent some of the most precious surviving examples of Anglo-Saxon and Medieval metalwork, textiles and woodwork and will go on display in late 2017. In the meantime, visitors can enjoy an awe-inspiring exhibition of church plate and metalwork.

To find out more about Open Treasure, and to register your interest in tickets on-line, please visit www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/open-treasure

It’s the final countdown!

On 11 July 2013, the first brick was laid on Durham Cathedral in LEGO, an ambitious project which sought to recreate Durham Cathedral from 300,000 LEGO bricks to raise funds for Open Treasure, the Cathedral’s new world-class exhibition experience open from 23 July 2016.

Exactly three years later the model is almost complete, with only 15,000 bricks to go! We are hoping to complete the model in just two weeks and you can help by visiting the Cathedral in person, texting LEGO16 £2 to 70070 or donating online at www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/donate.

And if you’re still not convinced about the awesomeness of this project, here are ten surprising facts about Durham Cathedral in LEGO which might just change your mind!

  1. Durham Cathedral in LEGO has been designed by Bright Bricks, a UK-based company licensed by LEGO to design large-scale LEGO models. Other creations by Bright Bricks include a gigantic working scale model of the Rolls Royce Dreamliner aero engine and a world record breaking 35 foot high Christmas tree!
  2. The first brick was laid on the model by TV presenter and historian Jonathan Foyle on 11 July 2013, marking the start of an epic three-year LEGO build.
  3. Durham Cathedral in LEGO will eventually contain almost 300,000 bricks and over 1,450 individual modules.
  4. Durham Cathedral in LEGO has taken 1097 days to build so far (including today), with only 14 days left to go!
  5. When complete, Durham Cathedral in LEGO will be 1.7m tall, 3.84m long and 1.53m wide.
  6. Durham Cathedral in LEGO is the first large-scale LEGO model to have been built by the general public.
  7. Durham Cathedral in LEGO has been built by visitors across the globe, including visitors from as far afield as Alaska, the Seychelles, the Solomon Islands and the Cook Islands!
  8. Over 27,000 volunteer hours have gone into the making of Durham Cathedral in LEGO, which has been open almost every day for the last three years.
  9. An online mini-series has been produced inspired by Durham Cathedral in LEGO, retelling the story of Durham Cathedral through LEGO animation. You can watch the videos here: durhamcathedral.co.uk/lego-story
  10. The final brick will be added to the model on Monday 25 July 2016 by Pearl Richardson from Newcastle who won our LEGO Lottery, but don’t worry if you can’t visit the Cathedral before the model is complete! Durham Cathedral in LEGO will remain on display at Durham Cathedral for visitors to admire for many years to come.

To find out more about Durham Cathedral in LEGO, please visit www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/lego

To find out more about Open Treasure, please visit www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/open-treasure