A much-anticipated new archive and history centre for County Durham will open in June, after set backs saw it delayed. 

 The Story at Mount Oswald, in Durham City, a state of the art archive hub, history centre, and registry office will open to the public on June 14. 

Initially, it was estimated that construction at the Mount Oswald Manor House site would be finished sometime in 2023, but with six miles and 900 years of Durham's history moving, it has proved a complex and time-consuming job. 

With the opening date just one month away, Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming people to The Story next month.

The Northern Echo: Items from Durham County Record Office which are being moved to a new site.  Pictured Carolyn Ball.

"It’s been an incredible journey to get to this point and now that the opening date is approaching, there is a real sense of excitement among everyone involved.

"Over the last six months, more than six miles of archives and five historic collections have been carefully transported from County Hall to Mount Oswald – that’s more than 10,500 shelves of precious documents and objects.

"A new exhibition space has been created and interactive digital displays have been introduced, along with an online collections search facility with AI features.

“The county’s registration team will also be relocating to The Story, so not only will it be a place where people can discover history but somewhere they can create their own.

The Northern Echo: Items from Durham County Record Office which are being moved to a new site.

"Whether that be a wedding, renewing vows or registering a birth – the stunning surroundings of the restored grade II listed Mount Oswald manor house will certainly add a sense of occasion.

On the weekend the doors at The Story are thrown open to the public, a programme of events will take place to celebrate.

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This will include:

  • A chance to be among the first to see a new permanent interactive exhibition exploring the history of County Durham.
  • Opportunities to try out the state-of-the-art new ways to engage with The Story’s collections, including the online collections search with AI features. There are also audio and visual devices to help bring the exhibitions to life.
  • A chance to look around the elegant ceremony rooms now available for marriages and civil ceremonies.
  • A teddy bear’s picnic and an opportunity for children to register their teddies.

“We can’t wait to open the doors to the public on Friday, June 14. The Story has so much to offer the people of County Durham, but it will also appeal to visitors and strengthen our position as the Culture County.

"We will be announcing more details about the special events taking place across the opening weekend soon, and I would encourage people to check out our website – www.thestorydurham.org - and follow @TheStoryDurham on Facebook and X for the latest news.”