Museum news

The latest on exhibitions, acquisitions, and key decisions.

New Faith Museum in Bishop Auckland

A new museum exploring how faith has shaped lives and communities across 6,000 years of British history is to open in Bishop Auckland next month.

Housed within a 14th-century wing of Auckland Castle and a 21st-century building designed by Níall McLaughlin Architects to resemble a medieval tithe barn, the Faith Museum’s galleries span the Neolithic period to the present day, featuring over 250 artefacts drawn from institutions and private collections across England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as the Auckland Project’s own holdings.

The new displays include the Gainford Stone (loaned by the Bowes Museum), a slab decorated with Neolithic rock art; a silver ring excavated at Binchester (Vinovium) Roman fort, whose decorations provide rare evidence of early Christianity in Britain (loaned by the Church Commissioners for England and pictured above; see also CA 295); the 13th-century Bodleian Bowl, loaned by the Ashmolean Museum, which represents Britain’s medieval Jewish communities; and a set of 20th-century prayer beads that were owned by Lord Headley, believed to be the first Briton to have legitimately completed the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca after converting to Islam in 1913.

Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Jerusalem Trust, the Faith Museum opens on 7 October; for more information, see

Image: Jeff Veitch, Durham University

Kilmartin Museum reopens

Kilmartin Museum, in Argyll & Bute, has reopened following a major redevelopment that saw it closed for several years. During this period, in 2019, the museum’s prehistoric collections (representing just over half of its more than 20,000 artefacts) were recognised as Nationally Significant by the Scottish Government.

The museum has now gained a much larger display space, a creative area for cultural activities, two galleries for temporary exhibitions, and research, learning, and educational facilities including two new laboratories (one wet and one dry) to care for existing holdings and new acquisitions. The café and shop have also been renovated and expanded.

Visitors to the reopened attraction will be able to learn about more than 5,000 years of history within Kilmartin Glen, a rich prehistoric landscape boasting over 800 monuments and examples of rock art. See for more details.

Image: Aaron Watson

Call for evidence

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is asking museums and galleries that bring items into the UK for temporary exhibitions for their views on how easy it is to do.

Goods and equipment imported into the UK for a short period of time can use a customs procedure called Temporary Admission (TA), which means that customs duty or import VAT do not need to be paid. It is used by various sectors to stage temporary events including conferences, trade exhibitions, performances, and sporting competitions, and HMRC has issued a call for evidence (CfE) to participants, to help further streamline the process.

HMRC is particularly keen to hear about any barriers to using TA and their impact; friction points in the current process; and how the procedure can better facilitate importing at the border. The CfE runs until 22 September 2023. It can be viewed in full at and participants can provide feedback by emailing


Landscape with Ruins

Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, 12 September – 9 December

Uniquely Scottish Silver

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Until 26 May 2024


Adrift – Lego Lost at Sea by Tracey Williams

Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, Until 23 September

Re-imagining Regina: Past and Present

Arbeia Roman fort, South Shields, Until 30 September

Swansea Canal 225

National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, Until 17 September

Ness of Brodgar: Time and Place

Orkney Museum, Kirkwall, Until 30 September