Bow Trust Museum opens its doors for summer

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A museum located on the Bailey between Hatfield and St. Chad’s colleges has reopened for the summer this Easter.

The award-winning independent museum, managed by the Bow Trust, is run entirely by volunteers and has been supported by a range of student volunteers, who work alongside other permanent staff.

Located within the Listed Grade 1 former parish church of St Mary-le-Bow, the museum still contains 17th-century woodwork and fittings and is designed to record and display the social history of Durham City.

Past exhibits have ranged from Durham’s medieval past to the 19th century. Displays have included an introduction to Durham as a medieval city, which contained a scaled model of the castle and cathedral, and explained as well as the roles of bishops and chancery courts.

Past exhibits have ranged from Durham’s medieval past to the 19th century

Other exhibits displayed features of Durham in the 18th-century, as well as a reconstructed prison cell of the North Gate gaol.

Speaking to Palatinate, Dr Grenville Holland (Emeritus in the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University) said: “this is an independent charitable Trust that relies entirely on the endeavours of its loyal and devoted members.

“Over the years the students at Durham University have provided invaluable help and support in the management of this museum.”

Dr Holland went on to urge students to volunteer for the museum, as he believes they “contribute to the welfare of the museum.”

Student volunteers such as Anh Nguyen, a student from St Aidan’s College who is also studying for an MSc in Sustainability, Culture and Development, help at the museum.

“Over the years the students at Durham University have provided invaluable help and support in the management of this museum.”

Dr Grenville Holland (Emeritus in the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University)

She said that the “experience has provided a rare exposure to Durham’s local culture and its lovely people, especially for an international student like me and it also teaches me important museum receptionist and administrative skills.”

The museum has a lot to show about Durham’s social history

Ms Nguyen recognises that “welcoming and providing guidance for visitors also helps improve my English communication, and creates chances to meet new people from all over the UK”, and finds that “the working environment is extremely friendly and pleasant as well, thanks to my lovely supervisor Dennis and my co-staffs. I truly couldn’t ask for a nicer volunteering experience.”

Selin Tuzlan, a University College student studying for an MSc in Sustainability, Culture and Development, said that they had “always wanted to work at a museum/gallery, and when I saw this volunteering opportunity I knew I had to apply,” adding that “the museum is very well-curated and beautiful, and it has a lot to show about Durham’s social history.”

The museum is open every weekend

In the Chancel Area of the museum, there are also “Special Exhibitions”, where stained-glass windows from Brancepeth Castle are displayed. These windows were donated to the Museum by Durham District Council in 2009, having been originally given to the City by Viscount Boyne. The museum is open every weekend from 11am to 4.30pm until June 1st, when it will be open every day until the end of October.

Photograph: Google via Creative Commons

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