The Bowes Museum Achieves National Accreditation

The Bowes Museum Achieves National Accreditation

The Bowes Museum is pleased to announce that its Archive has been awarded Archive Accreditation. 


Accredited Archive Services ensure the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of our archive heritage. Accreditation is the UK quality standard which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery. Achieving accredited status demonstrates that The Bowes Museum Archive has met clearly defined national standards relating to management and resourcing; the care of its unique collections and what the service offers to its entire range of users.


The John and Josephine Bowes Archive is a unique documentary resource for studying an important example of museum history in Britain. The Bowes’ purchase of over 15,000 objects representing all types of European fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19thCentury, includes extensive documentation which records details of their purchases, the furnishings of their homes and their day-to-day lives in Paris, including Josephine’s dress bills from Worth and other makers. The archive includes approximately 5000 personal letters of John Bowes.


Judith Phillips, Archivist at The Bowes Museum, said:  “Work to sort, organise and catalogue the archive began in earnest in 2009 and by 2014 was virtually complete. We are now in the process of getting all the records online. This could not have been achieved without a team of dedicated volunteers, who have helped transcribe and translate the archive. The Accreditation award is a great credit to the Museum and the work that has gone into developing the archive and reading room service over the last six years.


“Archive accreditation recognises the progress made in cataloguing and making available to the public the papers of John and Josephine Bowes, the Museum’s founders, and the Museum’s records since John’s death in 1885. It also recognises the support given to the archive service by the Trustees, Museum staff and, of course, the significant part played by volunteers.


Judith, together with the Museum’s Head of Collections Jane Whittaker, was delighted to be presented with a framed certificate by Keith Sweetmore, Engagement Manager North, The National Archives, in recognition of the award.


The Accreditation Panel which made the award “… warmly commended the Museum’s decision to apply for Accreditation for its archive service and the Museum’s investment in its archive collections. They recognised the substantial progress which has been made in recent years, creating an excellent basis for the archive to contribute to the Museum’s wider goals.”

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