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 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.