Opening treasures at Durham Cathedral

Volunteers and staff in the Monk's Dormitory
Durham Cathedral is unlocking the doors to its much-anticipated Open Treasure exhibition.

Hidden medieval rooms and treasures spanning nine centuries will be revealed, giving visitors unprecedented access to the historic landmark.

Open Treasure was made possible by National Lottery players and a fundraising campaign which saw members of the public build a Lego version of the cathedral brick by brick – raising thousands in the process.

Open Treasure by numbers

  • 22 jobs have been created
  • 400 volunteers have made an incredible contribution
  • 923 years is the age of Durham Cathedral
  • 120,000 visitors are expected to visit the exhibition each year
  • 300,000 bricks were used to create Durham Cathedral in Lego
  • £3.9million was awarded to the project thanks to National Lottery players

From Roman stones to St Cuthbert’s pectoral cross, collections will be housed within the 14th-century Monk’s Dormitory, beneath the breathtaking octagonal roof of the Great Kitchen and in the newly created Collections Gallery.

[quote-Richard Morris, HLF Trustee and Chair of HLF’s North East Committee]“Open Treasure is a flagship project for Durham and a key investment of National Lottery players’ money for HLF. We’re delighted to celebrate its opening.”[/quote]

Durham Cathedral has been a place of study, worship and a space for the community for centuries and opening up its heritage for people of all ages to enjoy is at the heart of the project. A Community Gallery will allow the public’s own work to be displayed and become part of the building’s incredible story.

Richard Morris, HLF Trustee and Chair of HLF’s North East Committee said: “Open Treasure is a flagship project for Durham and a key investment of National Lottery players’ money for HLF. We’re delighted to celebrate its opening.”

Durham Cathedral’s Open Treasure exhibition will open to the public on Saturday 23 July.

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Durham Cathedral to receive £3.9million

Open Treasure is the cathedral’s development project that aims to transform the way visitors can enjoy the cathedral and gain inspiration from it. This next phase is worth £10m and will see the creation of new exhibition spaces in buildings around the medieval cloister and essential fabric repairs

Major investment in two of England’s most spectacular cathedrals

£3.9m for Durham Cathedral HLF’s investment will enable the display of original 13th-century copies of the Magna Carta alongside other artefacts in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the charter in 2015. The Monks’ Dormitory and Great Kitchen, some of the most intact medieval monastic rooms in