OPEN Treasure is delivering an EXCITING PROGRAMME OF EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES TO HELP EVERYONE LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CATHEDRAL, the MONASTIC BUILDINGS THAT SURROUND IT, AND THE PEOPLE AND EVENTS THAT HAVE SHAPEd ITS HISTORY.

This work builds on the Cathedral’s existing Events Programme and its award-winning Education team, which already engages 20,000 young people each year in the Cathedral and on the Cathedral owned City Centre Woodlands and Riverbanks.  

We hope that our new events and activities will encourage people who haven’t visited the Cathedral in the past, or who haven’t been here for a long time, to visit and find out more. 

Through crafting workshops, family events, displays and talks at the Cathedral, and new activities working with community groups across Durham, the Cathedrals’ collections will be shared with visitors and the community of the North East.

Opportunities for Everyone

The Open Treasure Learning Programme will continue with regular ‘Make and Take’ craft activities for families. We are also running Show and Tell events, which give visitors the chance to see things from the Cathedral’s Collections that are not on regular display. 

There will also be opportunities for people to take part in projects which explore the heritage of the Cathedral and share it with others. As part of the Cathedral Voices oral history project, we are delighted to have recruited some fantastic volunteers who are capturing living memories of the Cathedral from the people of Durham.

A new Herb Garden in the grounds of the Education centre, on the site of the original monks’ infirmary, provides opportunities for school groups and other visitors to learn about how the monks used the herbs for medicine and food.

Through the Recreating the Community project, the Cathedral has worked with four commissioned artists to create art inspired by the Treasures of St Cuthbert, and community groups have also created their own art work inspired by the Treasures. 

Engaging Young People

We are setting up special groups for children and young people, giving them the chance to meet regularly to have fun and to learn about the Cathedral and its collections, as well as to help us develop future exhibitions that are appealing to all age groups. 

The Cathedral Explorers group, for children aged 7-11 began in autumn 2015.

The Young Curators Group gives opportunities for children aged 11-16 to engage with the Cathedral's collections and gain real-life experience in curatorship and object handling.

Working with Schools

As well as working with families and community groups, the Education team have continued their long running programme of activities with schools, with some new projects inspired by Open Treasure.

Through the Treasure Stories project they are working with selected schools to produce creative stories based in the Cathedral, written by and for children. They are also delivering new activities for school groups, including a workshop based around the medieval period, with children learning what people would have worn, how to create illuminated lettering, and how to write with a quill pen. On top of all of this, the Education Centre has created boxes of ‘treasures’ that can be loaned out to schools with props that will help the children learn about a whole range of subjects, from the Anglo Saxons to Monastic Life.

Interpretation

Every object in the Cathedral’s collection has meaning, value, and special attributes that can be used to inspire and create understanding about the life of the Cathedral, church history in England, as well as the social and economic past of the North East region. Throughout Open Treasure we will be working to document the Cathedral’s Collections in an electronic format, making it easier to find and learn about the objects we have here.

Improved interpretation of the collections within the new exhibition spaces, along with clearer signage and new interpretation in the Cathedral itself, will help people understand the importance of these buildings and the treasures they contain.

Interpretation will be aimed at the non-expert adult, but with plenty to interest children and inform scholars. A regular programme of activities and events will help people find out even more about St Cuthbert, the Cathedral and the Monastic buildings that surround them. We host regular gallery talks, specialist tours and lectures by experts in their fields.

Academics and individuals with special interests can study and document the collections by contacting the Cathedral’s Head of Collections. See www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/learning/the-cathedral-library to find out more.