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 open!


The Bowes Museum is looking forward to welcoming you!

You are able to enjoy the hugely popular Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection, Pre-Raphaelite Knights: Reinventing the Medieval World and blimey! Lucretia exhibitions as well as an exciting programme of family workshops throughout the summer holidays.

The health and well-being of our visitors, staff and volunteers are our priority, and in line with the latest Government guidance on COVID-19 the changes we have made will help you to feel confident, safe and enjoy your visit.

Entry to the Museum has to be booked before you visit here or by telephoning us on 01833 690606. Details about what to expect when you visit are available when you click here.