Museum brings community groups together for kindness quilt project.

Museum brings community groups together for kindness quilt project.

Schools, care homes and craft groups are among those joining in the scheme.



The Bowes Museum has joined forces with different groups around the region to celebrate its latest exhibition with a series of kindness quilts.


North Country Quilts: In Celebration of New Acquisitions opened on Monday 17th of May at the Barnard Castle based Museum but the education team has been busy behind the scenes working with schools, care homes and community groups on several kindness quilt projects to complement the display.


The projects are based on the story “The Kindness Quilt” by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace and in one scheme, 100 children from five schools in County Durham meet for weekly zoom lessons with the artist Claire Ford alongside 10 residents at two care homes in Barnard Castle.


During those zoom lessons they take inspiration from the book and exhibition to produce mixed media segments of a quilt ranging from stencilled and felted fabric to paper collage.  These will then be put together to create a kindness quilt.  The children and elderly people taking part in the sessions are able to talk to each other about their thoughts and feelings as they work on the squares.


The project proved so popular that it’s been rolled out to another 11 schools in County Durham and North Yorkshire, with the textile artist Charlotte Pyrah delivering outreach sessions with a focus on holding hands, which will be made into a strippy style quilt with 11 rows, one from each school.


Then 40 schools will take part in a printing webinar on June 14 to make a giant kindness quilt, which will be around 6 metres wide by around 4.5 metres deep.


The Museum has also joined forces with the Pimms and Needles community groups, who have produced a quilt in a stand-alone project that has echoes of the themes of the kindness quilt. 


It is also working with members of the BAME community in Middlesbrough to produce an International quilt, which will be made from silk painted panels and sewn inserts.


The Bowes Museum’s education coordinator, Julia Dunn, said: “We were delighted to be able to continue our outreach work with care homes in Barnard Castle at the same time as working with school children in the area by creating this fun intergenerational project. We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of groups and schools wanting to take part in the kindness quilt project.    It’s really captured people’s imaginations and we want to embrace that enthusiasm by creating a further Great Giant Kindness Quilt.  We invite people to forward squares that are 15cm square that can be assembled in the Museum to create an artistic and personal response to the project.  They can be made from paper or material and have words, images or patterns and they’ll be joined together to go into a really wonderful mixed media display that will go on show later this year.”


All the unique and very different quilts made by the various organisations and groups will be exhibited at the Museum from July 2021 until January 2022.


The projects have been funded through various bodies including: Power to Change, through Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland and Investing in People and Culture; Innovation Funding from Beamish NPO and the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

The Bowes Museum is open everyday from 10.00 to 5.00.  Tickets to the Museum must be pre-booked and admission to the North Country Quilts exhibition is by a separate timed gallery entrance ticket which needs to be booked,at no extra cost, in advance of your visit.



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. 
  • 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.
  • 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,



Categories: News