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 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!