Chance to explore 900 years of history as The Story opens in Durham

The Story, Durham's new history museum, has opened at Mount Oswald, on the outskirts of the city. Credit: Durham County Council

A visitor attraction bringing together County Durham's archives, records and historical collections has opened.

The centre on the outskirts of Durham is called The Story and will combine an exhibition space, county archives and registration service.

It is housed at the Grade II listed Mount Oswald manor, on the city's former golf course, which has been restored and extended.

Elizabeth Scott, leader of Durham County Council, said: "This is the coming together of the county's entire archive collection, along with our register service, so births, marriages and deaths. We're bringing them together into one unique facility for County Durham which is pretty incredible."

Six miles of archive charting 900 years of history have been moved from County Hall to Mount Oswald, which includes a register detailing the history of local families, dating back 300 years.

The centre will also house the DLI Collection and archive, which have been brought together for the first time since 1998.

Just a few of the 15,000 items belonging to the DLI Collection. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Staff and volunteers have spent more than a year conserving the catalogue and bringing items to their new home.

Gillian Kirkbride, from The Story, said: "It's very special. It's the next step to make our collection accessible to people, to make them more engaging, learning sessions for people to come in and really engage in the stories, providing high quality stores.

"Having the best environment to be able to preserve and conserve these items for the future, makes it really special."

The venue is also the new home of the County Registration Service.Anne Robson, superintendent registrar, said: "We'll be registering birth deaths taking notices of civil partnerships and welcoming everyone to our beautiful celebration room and welcoming any celebration we can accommodate."

A programme of activities is taking place this weekend, including opportunities to get up close to items from the archives, demonstrations on how to search the digital archives and family activities in the learning studio, including fancy dress and family name research.

Visitors will also be able to explore the permanent exhibition space and a temporaryexhibition about the Battle of Kohima.

On Sunday 16 June activities include comedy performances, historical re-enactors and a teddy bears' picnic.

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