The Bowes Museum > Collection > 125th Anniversary

Named after its founders, John & Joséphine Bowes, this beautiful French château-style building opened to the public in 1892. 125 years later, the Museum has more than ever for you to enjoy.

Home to the most important collection of European fine and decorative arts in the North of England, it is one of Britain’s most fascinating museum experiences. Paintings by El Greco, Van Dyck, Canaletto, Gainsborough, Goya and other masterpieces can be found in the impressive picture galleries. You will also find iconic objects like the Silver Swan musical automaton, an award winning fashion and textiles gallery, an important collection of ceramics and a wide range of beautiful historic furniture.

Over the course of the past year we have been assembling 125 of your favourite objects from the Museum’s collection. Adrian Jenkins, Director of the Museum, started the ball rolling with 16 of his personal favourites. These are highlighted throughout the Museum, where you can discover some of their untold stories. You can join the conversation and share your thoughts on the objects as they are chosen by designers, artists, celebrities, peers and curators.


Join In Here

The Bowes Museum is closed!


All of us at The Bowes Museum are really sad to announce that we have had to close until Wednesday 2 December in line with new national restrictions.

As a result, we have been forced to cancel events that were due to take place during this time. If you have a ticket for an event or entry to the Museum before this date, you will be contacted to arrange a refund or to make an alternative booking. All Christmas activities including the Christmas Market and Santa’s Grotto are expected to go ahead as planned.

Happily, we are still able to welcome walkers and cyclists to the Park and Gardens as usual, including the Playground area, and cars will be admitted between 10.00 and 4.00 daily.

We have so loved welcoming people into the building again, safely enjoying our displays, eating in Café Bowes and browsing in our shop, so please in the meantime keep safe and we hope to see you back again soon.

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