The Society's seal and three photographs

Library and Collections

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Our latest news bulletin is issue 61, dated Dec 2016.

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From the first days of the Society's existence, it has collected books, objects, coins, music and manuscripts. Our Bicentenary book, 200 Years, explains the history of these various collections, and you can see some of the important items in the Virtual Museum.


Our library

We share the Library, on the top floor of the Great North Museum, with the Natural History Society of Northumbria and Newcastle University's Cowen Library. Follow this link for a downloadable leaflet giving more details.

 We have 30,000 volumes and take 91 learned journals in our library on the top floor of  the Great North Museum: Hancock. Opening hours are normally 10.00 to 4.00 Monday to Friday..It is also open on the first Saturday of each month, 11.00-3.00, staffed by volunteers

Opening hours, Christmas and New Year Vacation 2016-17

19 Dec to 22 Dec, 1.00-4.00
23 Dec to 2 Jan, closed
3 Jan to 6 Jan, 1.00-4.00
7 Jan, 11.00-3.00 (staffed by library volunteer
9 Jan onwards; normal termtime opening hours

If anyone needs access outside these times please e-mail or phone  on 0191 208 3555 to request it. Find out more...

We now also have wi-fi access in the library.  Anyone who wants to use this service should select BT OpenZone or Go Digital when the network options are displayed. You do not need to enter a user name or password.

Archaeological Collection

We have an archaeological collection of international importance, covering all periods from the paleolithic to the present day. Much of it is on display in the Great North Museum and the Castle Keep, but almost every museum of size in the area contains objects on loan from the Society. Find out more...

 Archive collection

St Nicholas ChurchyardOur archives include historic documents, research notes, drawings, maps, plans and photographs. The majority are on loan to the Northumberland Archives Service at Woodhorn, Northumberland, with nearly 60,000 entries in their electronic catalogue. Find out more..


We have more than 2,000 Roman coins, mostly found in Britain,  and many Early Medieval ones -  especially Northumbrian stycas - as well as later ones. Some of our coins are on display in the galleries of the Great North Museum, including our recently acquired Prince Henry silver penny.

Find out more..

Music and Bagpipes

We have a considerable collection of music books and manuscripts, and over 100 complete sets of bagpipes, mostly in the Morpeth Chantry Museum.  FARNE, the Folk Archive Resource North East, features scanned images of tunes and songs from many of the manuscripts.

Find out more..

In the future, don’t forget your past