Journeys: Reading the World

This February saw the launch of our new online exhibition Journeys: Reading the World, showcasing material relating to travel and tourism from our rare books, archives and manuscript collections. David Wright, Assistant Curator (Exhibitions), gives us a preview of the exhibition, which we would encourage you to visit for yourself.

There is a certain irony to us launching an exhibition about the pleasure, value and excitement of travel when are all mostly stuck indoors, unable to venture much further than the local supermarket, but so far visitors seem to be finding it a pleasant escape from the mundanity of lockdown.

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12 Activities of Christmas: Library Staff Challenge

As we lead up to Christmas, we’ve given over this post to Sarah Hyland and Katie Skellett, who have been forcefully injecting Christmas cheer across Library and Collections staff, who have worked hard across 2020 to get services up and running, buildings back open and reading materials available online.

“We probably don’t need to say this but what a year it has been! Normally we would be decorating the offices and you wouldn’t be able to see people or books for tinsel and Christmas trees.  We would also be having staff parties, Christmas cracker relays and sharing delicious Christmas treats that the bakers amongst us had whipped up.  This year is obviously a bit different but the University Library and Collections Staff Development Group still wanted to try to do something to bring colleagues together.  We wanted to share a bit of Christmas cheer and help to make people feel festive – wherever they are just now.  So, we came up with the “12 activities of Christmas”.  It started on Monday 30th November and ran until Tuesday 15th December – culminating in a virtual Christmas quiz party!”

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On the first day of WellBEEing @dulib shared with me…

Feeling festive and being acutely aware of the stresses and uncertainty the festive period holds for many this year, we embarked on a wellbeing campaign for December, named ‘12 Days of WellBEEing.’

Read on to find out more (and check back next week to hear about Library and Collections Staff own ’12 days of Christmas’ festive challenges…

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A review of ‘Liberate My Library’. Diversifying collections in a challenging year.

As we approach the end of the year we thought it would be a good time to look back at a new service we launched back in February. Wow talking about February seems like a lifetime ago now doesn’t it? So much has happened in 10 months and although not everything has been what we would have liked there have been things to celebrate. Our ‘Liberate My Library’ scheme we think is one of them.

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Coming to a living room near you…

Charlotte Spink, a Learning Assistant in our Learning and Engagement Team, reflects on transitioning Little Dragons under 5s group from a multi-sensory museum-based programme to a digital session families access from home during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Charlotte presenting Little Dragons from the Galleries at the Oriental Museum
Creating digital content in the Oriental Museum galleries

Lockdown brought with it many changes to ways of working in museums, especially when it comes to engaging with our very youngest visitors – preschool children and their families. Little Dragons, the Oriental Museum’s group for children under 5 has been running as a weekly gallery-based session for over 8 years, attracting an average of 15-20 children per session.  Each session is themed around exploring an object the children can see on display, with craft activities, songs and sensory stories. All these activities were very much based on sensory engagement, communicating directly with each individual child and personalising the session for them.

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#Colourourcollections (3): Sunderland High Street

Sunderland_Colouring resized

For those of you who are familiar with Sunderland, here is an image of the High Street in earlier times for you to colour in. The image is part of our Pictures in Print digital collection of printed local maps and topographical illustrations. This particular illustration comes from an extra-illustrated copy of William Fordyce’s The history and antiquities of the county palatine of Durham (1857), which is held at Sunderland City Library.

The domed building on the right-hand side is Hutchinson’s Buildings, opposite Havelock House where in 1898 the “Great Fire of Sunderland” started. Can you identify any other buildings?

Download the image above as a JPG or as a PDF. Do share your creations with us via Twitter (@dulib or @PalaceGreenLib).

#Colourourcollections (2)

This week we’re introducing you to a historic magazine for Durham University students, which we hold in our archives and special collections.

The Sphinx was a magazine produced by the students of  Durham University between March 1905 and June 1922 (it did not appear between July 1914 and the end of 1918). It contained short pieces, parodies, cartoons and accounts of sports and other social events.

The image below shows a view that hasn’t perhaps changed much over the last century or so! Right-click and save the image, or download a PDF version to colour in at your leisure. Why not share your efforts with us via Twitter (@dulib or @PalaceGreenLib)?

View of Durham Cathedral across the Wear from The Sphinx, volume 1 issue 9 (June 1906)
View of Durham Cathedral across the Wear from The Sphinx, volume 1 issue 9 (June 1906)

#Colourourcollections (1)

Fancy a bit of colouring in? Get your crayons, paintbrushes, or favourite digital colouring app out and join us in making Durham Cathedral’s famous sanctuary door knocker more colourful!

You can click and save the image below to print off, download the PDF version or create a digital copy. 

We’d love to see the results, so do share your colourful creations with us via Twitter (@dulib and @PalaceGreenLib), using the hashtag #colourourcollections. But most importantly, have fun!

If you’d like to see more old drawings of the Durham area, have a look at our Pictures in Print pages: http://valentine.dur.ac.uk/pip/index.html.

Find out more about the Sanctuary Knocker on the Durham World Heritage Site website: https://www.durhamworldheritagesite.com/architecture/cathedral/intro/sanctuary-knocker.

Black and white drawing of the Sanctuary Knocker at Durham Cathedral. It has the shape of a lion's head.

Learning Online #MuseumFromHome

In a pre-coronavirus world, we at the Learning and Engagement Team spent our days engaging school children; families; community groups and those with access requirements to enjoy and use the truly amazing collections of Durham University. We were able to work with all walks of life in amazing buildings – with equally amazing collections –  Durham Castle, Palace Green Library and the Oriental Museum and hopefully, raise aspirations for young people in our region to go to university and have as much fun with researching collections as we do. 

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