The Bowes Museum Start children on an amazing journey into the arts

The Bowes Museum Start children on an amazing journey into the arts

The Bowes Museum is celebrating being one of just 10 UK arts venues to be chosen by leading arts education charity, Children & the Arts, to join the prestigious three year ‘Start’ arts programme this year.


Start, created and funded by Children & the Arts, partners arts venues with local schools to offer children specifically targeted opportunities to engage in creative activities and work with professional artists that inspire them and enhance their experience of the arts. Since 2006Start has enabled 109 arts venues to work with 120,000 children.


Over the next three years The Bowes Museum will work with 330 children aged 7-11 from six County Durham primary schools. All the schools are in close proximity to the Museum and have little or no engagement with the Museum in the past.  The schools are:


Woodhouse Community Primary School, Prince Bishops Community Primary School, St.Wilfrid's RCVA Primary School, Timothy Hackworth Primary School, Copeland Road Primary School  and Ramshaw Primary School.


For the first year of Start, the teachers and children will be introduced to the Pauline Burbidge Quilts and Quiltline temporary exhibition and the Museum's internationally recognised high quality collection of historical quilts. Using the exhibition as a focus, and supported by the Museum's education team and local textile artist Lone Helliwell, the children will see the artwork first hand, learn about the history of quilt making and explore the methods and techniques used throughout history. The children will be encouraged to question what they are looking at, and specifically to ask questions about the processes and techniques used to make the quilts.


The children will work with the Museum's education team and the professional artist both in the Museum and back in school in special interactive workshops, sketching, designing, printing, stitching and using collage to create their unique designs.


They will then create a collective quilt made up of designs created by each child involved in the project. The completed quilt will be toured around the schools, and then publically displayed in The Bowes Museum.


From the beginning, The Bowes Museum will work with the teachers to build Start into their curriculum planning so that it's an integral part of the school year. Teachers participating in Start will be given special training in using art as a teaching resource and provided with new CPD opportunities. At the end of the project the Museum will develop a free teaching resource pack for all primary schools. Information in the pack will be gathered throughout the project and will support primary schools in delivering a creative arts project. The resources will include a list of activities and lesson plans which would support learning in the classroom. 


Each child taking part in the project will receive a free family pass so that they can visit independently with their family.


As Jeremy Newton, Chief Executive of Children & the Arts, explains, Start takes learning beyond the classroom, inspiring and empowering children and young people in a new and exciting environment:     


"The Start programme reaches out to the many children in the UK who are denied the opportunity to engage with the arts.  Start shows that museums and galleries, theatres and concert halls, are places that they are allowed to visit, places where they can experience and learn something new, and most of all, places that they can enjoy.


We know that Start, as well as being fun, has had a huge impact on children's confidence, communication skills and personal development of thousands of children across the UK. We are delighted to be working with The Bowes Museum to provide these opportunities for local children." 


Amy Bainbridge, Education Co-ordinator, The Bowes Museum, is delighted that it has been chosen as a Start partner:


"To be one of only 10 arts venues in the UK to be selected to join the Start programme this year is a great privilege.


We are really grateful for the opportunity to  work with schools over a number of years, where we have the time to make a real difference. If successful, Start has the potential to create a legacy not just for the children involved in it this time but for the generations of children attending the schools in the future."




Notes to editors




The six schools participating in Start are:


Woodhouse Community Primary School, Walker Drive, Woodhouse Close Estate, Bishop Auckland DL14 6QW


Prince Bishops Community Primary School, Gibson Street, Coundon Grange, Bishops Auckland DL14 8DY


St. Wilfrid's R.C.V.A Primary School, Murphy Crescent, Bishop Auckland DL14 6QH


Timothy Hackworth Primary School, Byerley Road, Shildon DL4 1HN


Copeland Road Primary School, Copeland Road, Bishop Auckland DL14 9JJ




Ramshaw Primary School, Oaks Bank, Bishop Auckland DL14 9SD




The new Start arts venues for 2015/2016 are:


Museums Sheffield (South Yorkshire); The Bowes Museum (County Durham) ; House of Illustration (London); Ocean Studios (Plymouth); Collective Gallery (Edinburgh); Artichoke Trust (Durham); Shetland Arts Development Agency (Shetland Islands); Live Music Now (Lancashire); UK Centre for Carnival Arts (Luton, Bedfordshire); The Atkinson (Southport, Lancashire).


The existing arts venues in years 2 and 3 of Start during 2015/2016 are:


BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (Gateshead); Compton Verney (Warwickshire); Derby Theatre (Derbyshire); Falkirk community Trust (Falkirk, Scotland); Festival City Theatres Trust (Edinburgh); Gallery Oldham (North West); Manchester Museum; Saatchi Gallery (London); and Tricycle Theatre (London).




About Children & the Arts


Children & the Arts was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales with the fundamental belief that every child has the right to be inspired by the arts. The charity’s UK wide arts engagement programmes work with deprived children from areas of social and economic disadvantage and builds partnerships between their schools and local professional cultural venues.  The charity takes children on a journey into their local arts venue and unlocks the arts for those who need to be inspired by them the most, raising children’s self-esteem and confidence, and nurturing their communication skills. Through the work of Children & the Arts, children learn that cultural venues are welcoming, accessible places to visit and since 2006 Children & the Arts has introduced over 390,000 children to life-changing arts experiences.


Follow us on Twitter @childrenandarts




The Bowes Museum


The Bowes Museum is a world-class visitor attraction with outstanding collections of European fine and decorative art, textiles, ceramics, silver and metals, archaeology and toys.


The Museum is a registered charity; its objectives are to advance the public's education and understanding of art, craft, design and history. The collections are enhanced by the Museum's lifelong learning programme which fun-filled family activities, scholarly lectures and a popular and growing schools programme. The Museum's other activities include curatorial expertise and research, conservation of the collections, building maintenance, a lively public events programme and an ambitious and internationally recognised exhibitions programme.




For press enquiries contact Marcus Stanton, Children & the Arts on 020 8617 0210/07900 891287 or email     

Categories: News

The Bowes Museum is looking forward to welcoming you on the 17 May

Staff have been busy behind the Museum’s closed doors getting everything ready to welcome visitors back safely.

Café Bowes has undergone a refurbishment and has a new menu waiting to be sampled, the Museum has been deep cleaned, new signage is in place reminding you to adhere to social distancing, hand sanitisation stations have been refilled, the shop has been restocked and staff are being trained ready to greet you back in a safe and timely manner.

North Country Quilts: In Celebration of New Acquisitions is now hanging in the main exhibition gallery ready to wow visitors through to January 2022 and, due to social distancing measures, entry to the display will be by a separate timed exhibition entrance ticket that needs to be booked, at no extra cost, before visiting. Song has also been reinstated in the Music Room so people can enjoy the sound of the instruments. A varied programme of activity is being planned throughout May and June which we hope you will participate in.

Entry to the Museum will be by timed slots and tickets will have to be pre-booked online here or by calling 01833 690606. The Museum will be open from 10.00 to 5.00 daily. Masks will need to be worn throughout the Museum, shop and café, except when eating or where exemptions apply.

We look forward to welcoming you back soon!