Horology expert to visit Chinese Knowledge Exchange event
Horology expert to visit Chinese Knowledge Exchange event

Horology expert to visit Chinese Knowledge Exchange event

Matthew Read to talk about the Silver Swan in Beijing

The Bowes Museum’s horology expert and Director of The Bowes Centre, Matthew Read, is travelling to Beijing to take part in a prestigious conference next week.


The Horological Collections at the Beijing Palace Museum: A Knowledge Exchange event at the Chinese Academy of Sciences is being hosted by The London Science Museum with support from the Academy.


Matthew has been invited as a specialist horological historian and technician to talk about The Bowes Museum’s Silver Swan, how it works, the challenges faced in its preservation and how our visitors respond to it.


The workshop will focus on the mechanics and challenges facing the preservation of clocks, watches and automatons, touching on the process of and questions around employing electronics and digital technology to preserve automaton.


The two day conference has been initiated by and fully paid for by The London Science Museum with support from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  It is part of the AHRC-funded research project ‘Time, Culture and Identity: the co-creation of historical research and co-development of visitor experience in China and the UK.


Matthew said: “I’m really delighted to be going to this symposium, I haven’t been to China before so it’s going to be exciting to be part of the dialogue that will hopefully lead to a partnership looking at the different approaches taken to clocks, watches and automatons.


“I’m looking forward to being able to discuss the questions I have regarding the future of the horological trade with other experts from around the world to find out if we face the same challenges with these dynamic, historical objects.”


“It’s also exciting to think that perhaps a Chinese-Anglo relationship could grow out of this, which would see students at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Beijing Jiaotong University finding ways to support this dying craft.”





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. 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 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.