Search Help

The overall aim of the website was to make searching the collection as easy as possible.


The search facility is broken into two distinct sections.

        The selection of a Collection Category in which to search.

        The search criteria

o       What Object names, Classified names, Events etc.

o       When Periods in time (i.e. Victorian) or dates

o       Where Place names, Site names, Countries

o       Who People, Artists, Makers, Companies etc.



When you begin your search you will see a list of Collection Categories on the left-hand side of the page, there will also be a random selection of records from the on-line database.

At this point you can either choose to select a random object or choose a category.


If you choose a category, you will that be shown a list of search terms that are appropriate to this category.

Choose from the Who, What, Where or When terms by selecting the relevant checkbox, this will change the search terms shown below.

If there are more than 250 search terms you can opt to return only terms beginning with one of the alphabet buttons above.


There is also a further random selection to choose from.


Once a search term has been selected you can choose to refine the search by selecting further search terms in the same manner with the exception that you may choose to exclude a term from your current results by selecting the exclude checkbox.


Tees Valley Categories Definitions - Help


natural world

These categories include traditional natural history collections including casts and models. They do not include costume, ethnography, archaeology or social history items that incorporate parts of natural history specimens or visual representations of natural history that are not scientific drawings.



This category includes all the animal specimens which can be searched under separate categories and also specimens that do not fit into the other groups eg. land worms.



This group will include taxidermy specimens, dioramas, parts of birds eg. feathers, eggs and nests.



This group includes taxidermy specimens, bones, antlers and horns, monotremes eggs, tusks, teeth, claws etc. Whale and dolphin specimens are included in this group.



This group includes taxidermy specimens, shells, eggs, nests, teeth, bones, claws, skins etc. but not costume items made from these animals.



This group includes pinned specimens, arachnids, specimens in preservative liquid, slide specimens etc. but not decorative art pieces made from insects.


freshwater and marine life

This group does not include any mammal and reptile life forms that live in a water environment. However, it does include amphibians, molluscs, shellfish, crustaceans, snails, corals, fish etc.


North East & animals

North East & birds

North East & mammals

North East & reptiles

North East & insects

North East & freshwater and marine life

These categories are used for specimens found in the North East even if they are not an indigenous species eg. a bird blown off course or a beached whale.



North East & plants

These categories include pressed specimens, seeds, nuts, leaves, bark, resin, funghi etc.


earth history

This category is used for geological specimens and includes fossils, minerals and rocks.



This group includes all the preserved remains of long dead plants and animals including the organism itself, an impression of it and marks made by it in life eg. dinosaur footprints.



Minerals are defined as native elements or elemental compounds formed in rock. Specimens can be extracted examples, fragments in rock and crystal formations, including polished specimens, worked gemstones etc.



This category covers all natural rock samples, including borehole samples, slide specimens, polished rocks and thin sections.


North East & earth history

North East & earth history & fossils

North East & earth history & minerals

North East & earth history & rocks

These categories are used for specimens extracted or found in the North East area.




Archaeology is the study of buildings, graves, tools and other objects which belonged to people who lived in the past. This category will also include items from recent history that have been excavated as part of an archaeological dig. Animal bones, plant specimens and minerals are included if they have been found in conjunction with evidence of human activity


archaeology & North East

Items which have been excavated in the North East region, wherever they may have originated from.



arts and crafts


decorative arts

This category covers pieces which may have been mass produced and have a functional purpose but were primarily made for decoration or fit within a recognised style or movement eg. Clarice Cliff teacups or Christopher Dresser toast racks.


North East & decorative arts

This category covers any pieces manufactured in the North East region.


applied arts

This category covers functional objects which have had a decoration or embellishment added eg. embroidery on textiles. They tend to be one-off pieces made by a craftsperson who specialises in that field.


North East & applied arts

This will include items made by craftspeople from the North East region.


fine art

This category covers works of art created for purely aesthetic expression. This would include visual arts in a variety of mediums.


North East & fine art

This category includes works of art with a North East subject.

Search under People & North East & artists for local born artists.






natural world




sport and leisure



world cultures


North East & fine art & buildings

North East & fine art & exploration

North East & fine art & industry

North East & fine art & maritime

North East & fine art & natural world

North East & fine art & people

North East & fine art & religion

North East & fine art & events

North East & fine art & sport and leisure

North East & fine art & transport

North East & fine art & views

North East & fine art & world cultures




This category is for individuals of great significance and include all items relating to that individual in different collections eg. famous personalities or important local artists.






inventors and innovators




North East & artists

North East & actors

North East & designers

North East & explorers

North East & inventors and innovators

North East & makers

North East & personalities


collectors and benefactors

North East & collectors and benefactors

This category includes significant donors who have given objects that fit within different collections eg. Colonel Thomlinson at Hartlepool, and may span different subject areas eg. natural world, world cultures and archaeology.




Items in this category include any photographic material such as lantern slides, glass plate and celluloid negatives, daguerreotypes, digital images, postcards and carte de visites. They have been split into groups according to the content of the image and whether they relate to the North East.



world cultures

This category includes objects collected in the past to represent different world cultures including European folk art. This now includes items collected to represent the multi-cultural and multi-faith background of people living in the Tees Valley which have been categorised according to their country of origin.





Middle East

This category covers Persia, Iran, Iraq, Mesopotamia, Israel, Jordan, Syria etc.


This covers Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania and neighbouring islands under Australian administrative rule.


This would include items from cultures in European colonies eg. Canary Islands, Azores etc.


This covers Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia in the Pacific Ocean and also includes Hawaii.


Inuit cultural objects from the Arctic region regardless of country.



Social Industrial History



This category includes all social industrial history items that have been collected to represent the home and working lives of people in Britain.



North East & maritime

These categories includes items relating to shipbuilding, fishing and water based leisure activities.



This category includes objects that represent the life experiences of people in Britain such as domestic furniture, what they wore, personal effects and tools used in their job.



This category includes social and industrial items which were mass produced but do not directly relate to the personal lives of individuals such as coins and tokens, tools related to a specific craft, ground breaking technologies and weapons of war.