Aliens invade The Bowes Museum
Aliens invade The Bowes Museum

Aliens invade The Bowes Museum

16 April - 16 June, 2019

Visitors to The Bowes Museum on Tuesday 16 April could be in for an out of this world experience!


Aliens will be taking over the toy galleries, as part of the GeTINvolved Alien Beach Party exhibition.


Members of the GeTINvolved group got to know the Museum’s collection and books by the author and illustrator Nick Sharratt (whose exhibition Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants is here from 20 July to 3 November).


They worked with the sculptor Vicky Holbrough to create Nick Sharratt style characters including: a duck with a monkey’s tail, a monkey in red shoes, a lion/croc/monkey and a light up space ship full of green aliens.


Children visiting the Alien Beach Party on 16 April, from 10.30am to 4pm, can have a go at making their own colourful clay alien to add to our Beach Party scene.


Visitors to the exhibition can also enter a writing competition of up to 500 words with the title, Alien Beach Party.


Julia Dunn, The Bowes Museum Education Coordinator, said: “This is a great opportunity for people to let their imagination go wild, thinking about what weird and wonderful things these fantastic creations have been up to or are planning.”


There are five categories in the competition:


  • Ages 6 and under;
  • Ages 7 to 9;
  • Ages 10 to 11;
  • Ages 12 to 15;
  • Ages 16 and over.


Entries can be emailed to or handed in at reception for the attention of Education.  The closing date is 16 June 2019, when the Alien Beach Party closes.  The winners will be announced and presented with their prizes by Nick Sharratt on 20 July.


GeTINvolved is a TIN Arts course funded by Durham County Council’s Adult Learning and Skills Service.  It is for individuals aged 19+ with learning difficulties, disabilities and those with mental health issues.


It offers non-accredited learning and through regular workshops and activities it develops the skills, knowledge and understanding required to become a cultural volunteer. 


Claire Defty, Operations and Development Manager at Tin Arts, said: “Working in partnership with The Bowes Museum has been a great opportunity for us and our participants.  Our participants have had the chance to volunteer in one of the region’s significant cultural venues, learning about its collections, the area’s local history as well as learning the skills to become a cultural volunteer.


“We work hard to identify and remove barriers to the creative and performing arts.  We create opportunities for those with the least access to the arts – helping them realise and celebrate their creative ability and potential.  We do this by increasing the level of participation by people of all ages and abilities, by developing new skills, being creative and celebrating talents and achievements.”


The Bowes Museum has worked with TIN Arts since 2017 and has also received funding from Art UK’s Sculpture Around You programme.




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

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!