We're ready when you are!

We're ready when you are!

The Bowes Museum to reopen on Saturday 1st August.

The trustees of The Bowes Museum are delighted to announce the Museum will reopen at 10am on Saturday 1 August*.


Visitors will be able to enjoy the hugely popular Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection exhibition until 17 January 2021,  Pre-Raphaelite KnightsReinventing the Medieval World until the end of September and also blimey! Lucretia as well as an exciting programme of workshops for families on offer throughout the summer holidays.


The health and well-being of our visitors, staff and volunteers is our number one priority and in line with the latest Government guidance on COVID-19 changes have had to be made in how the Museum operates so that visitors will feel confident and safe and have a relaxing and enjoyable visit.   


*Entry has to be booked before you visit on our website,www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk, or by telephoning the Museum, 01833690606.  This will enable us to manage the number of people in the Museum and allow for social distancing.


Visitors will have their tickets scanned on entry and there will be separate entrances and exits.  Our revolving doors will be out of use. 


We have numerous hand sanitisation stations around the Museum and Gardens with lots of reminders to respect social distancing.  We have undertaken a deep clean of the Museum and have an enhanced regular cleaning regime in place.  Our lifts are only to be used by households needing help to access the upper floors of the Museum.

We have restricted access to areas, exhibitions or artefacts where social distancing cannot be maintained. So, the red Ceramics Gallery and Silver Swan performances have been affected.  We will have film of the Silver Swan on show in the Silver & Metals gallery.


The Bowes Museum shop and Café Bowes will be open with access to the café directly from the gardens on the right-hand side of the building.   We are delighted to welcome back Ben Parnaby as Head Chef and he will be offering a delicious new menu as well as takeaways, which can be eaten in the Museum gardens.


Annual passes valid when the Museum closed on Wednesday 18 March, have been extended by 4 months.


The Director of The Bowes Museum, Adrian Jenkins, said: 

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported us by engaging with our virtual tours, blogs and social media, and by making generous donations both online and in the park.  When you visit, you’ll notice a few changes.  

We are the Museum you know and love with social distancing and enhanced safety precautions in place.  We’re really looking forward to opening the doors and welcoming you back on Saturday 1 August.” 





Notes to editors:


  • The Bowes Museum was created over 100 years ago by an extraordinary couple, John and Joséphine Bowes.  Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent building to house them in. The collection contains thousands of objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods. 
  • Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection – On show until 17 January 2021, this major retrospective tells the story of acclaimed artist Norman Cornish MBE’s enduring career with the most comprehensive collection of his work ever assembled, including a number of previously unseen pieces.
  • Pre-Raphaelite Knights: Reinventing the Medieval World – On show until September, this exhibition exploresa world of medieval myths and legends, of tales of heroic deeds and chivalric honour; for the most part the knights depicted by the Pre-Raphaelites in the 19th century were lovers as well as fighters. Masterworks by Rossetti, Millais and Burne Jones bring these tales and myths to life.
  • The Bowes Museum receives a core funding grant from Durham County Council and as a Major Portfolio Museum receives support from Arts Council England. 
  • Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk
  • The Bowes Museum has undergone major redevelopment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, One NorthEast through the County Durham Economic Partnership, English Heritage, Northern Rock Foundation, The Monument Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The European Regional Development Fund, DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund, Designation Challenge Fund, The Shears Foundation, The Richard and Suzanna Tonks Family Fund at County Durham Foundation, Durham County Council, The Friends of The Bowes Museum, The Headley Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, Fenwick Ltd, Mercers Charitable Foundation, Welton Foundation. 
  • The Bowes Museum is a member of the Discover Durham partnership of attractions. Our commitment is to promote Durham as an exciting and vibrant group travel destination and to provide the travel trade with a professional and knowledgeable service: hotline number 03000 262626, www.discoverdurham.co.uk



Categories: News

The Bowes Museum is closed!

Due to the government announcement on Thursday 17 December, that County Durham is to remain in COVID tier 3 restrictions, The Bowes Museum unfortunately will remain closed to all visitors.

As we have already been shut for a number of weeks and there is much uncertainty around possible further restrictions, we have decided to use this period to undertake some work in Caf� Bowes, alongside performing some much-needed structural repairs to the building, notably to the windows. January and February are usually quieter times for the Museum, often due to severe weather, so we believe that this is the best time to carry out such works with the least amount of disruption to our visitors.

We have therefore decided to remain closed for a period of four weeks following any near-future tier 2 announcement from the government, as this will allow us time to deep clean the Museum prior to reopening our doors once again. We will, of course, keep you updated as the guidelines change.

Your ongoing support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated and we very much look forward to welcoming you back into the building as early as possible in 2021.

Do please remember, however, that the Museum�s park and grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 � 4.00 daily, and that we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, clues can be found here.

We hope to be able to offer a few COVID-safe outdoor events over the coming months, about which we shall make further announcements as soon as possible.