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Library and Collections

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Our latest news bulletin is issue 69 dated September 2020

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Scanned images from our photo archive

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Important Notice: Coronavirus. As a result of the closure of the Great North Museum, the library is closed until further notice. Check the home page of this website for developments (other pages may not have been updated). Any books currently out on loan will be renewed for as long as necessary, and borrowers will be contacted individually by e-mail to confirm.

All events at Woodhorn Museum and Archive have also been cancelled or postponed. It was due to re-open on 17 September, but please check on its website before visiting.

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.


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.We have 30,000 volumes and take 91 learned journals there. Follow this link for a downloadable leaflet giving more details. Our Annual Report for 2019 gives details of current and recent activities,

You can see details of our latest acquisitions here.

Follow this link to find details of normal opening hours and contact information. The general pattern is; termtime, Monday to Thursday 10.00-4.00, Friday 10.00-1.00. Vacation time; Monday to Thursday 1.00-4.00, Friday 10.00-1.00.

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, 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.


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