History lovers can discover some of the treasures of Durham University’s collections.

from the comfort of their own home through a new online exhibition
The university’s museums and attractions are currently closed to the public due to Covid-19. However, the university’s exhibitions team has created an online exhibition, allowing internet users to learn about and enjoy 11 of its historic items through an online tool.

The Northern Echo: A section of Hartmann Schedel, Liber Chronicarum (Nuremberg Chronicle), 1493A section of Hartmann Schedel, Liber Chronicarum (Nuremberg Chronicle), 1493

The “Treasures of Palace Green Library” exhibition features items of interest from across the Centuries and around the world: from a second century AD letter from Roman-occupied Egypt to one of the world’s earliest printed books.

Also included is the Durham copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, an early collection of the Bard’s works, which was famously stolen from the university in 1998, but thankfully recovered and returned in 2010.

The Northern Echo: Durham University students viewing a 1623 edition of William Shakespeare’s First FolioDurham University students viewing a 1623 edition of William Shakespeare’s First Folio

There is one of a limited edition of 300 paper copies of “Love is Enough”, by William Morris from 1897, which was the second book to be printed in three colours, black, red and blue; and an embroidered portrait from Francis Bacon’s The Essayes (1625) featuring the philosopher-statesman’s patron – the first Duke of Buckingham.

The Northern Echo: A Personal Letter From Roman Egypt, 2nd Century ADA Personal Letter From Roman Egypt, 2nd Century AD

Durham University’s Palace Green Library is home to 100,000 books and over 100 medieval manuscripts. It is still housed in its original building, the library of Bishop of Durham John Cosin, which he founded from his private collection in 1669.

The library includes the internationally significant Sudan Archive, containing the papers of former officials, soldiers, missionaries, business men and individuals who served or lived in the Sudan during the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium period (1898-1955).

The Northern Echo: William Morris, Love Is Enough, 1897William Morris, Love Is Enough, 1897

There are also papers from Malcolm MacDonald, a 20th Century politician and diplomat, and the Basil Bunting Poetry Archive, from the 20th Century British modernist poet.

Liz Waller, director of library and collections at Durham University, said: “Though we’re sad not to be able to welcome visitors to our museums and attractions at the moment, we’re excited to launch this online exhibition, which gives just a flavour of the wonderful archives and collections at the university.

The Northern Echo: Thomas More, Utopia, 1516Thomas More, Utopia, 1516

"Many of these are now digitised so if something in ‘Treasures’ sparks your interest, you can explore much more through our online catalogue.”

“Treasures of Palace Green Library” is free to view, at stories.durham.ac.uk/treasures-of-palace-green-library