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 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!