The Bowes Museum > Collection > Explore The Collection

Introduction


The collections are displayed on three floors of the magnificent French-styled building. Many of the galleries have been redeveloped in the last ten years to give better access to the artefacts, more contemporary labeling and sympathetic lighting. The Fashion & Textiles Gallery is highly regarded by our peers due to its groundbreaking method of costume display which has been developed not only to achieve the best visual access to the garments, inside and out, but also to provide the best conservation methods for the items on display. There are some amazing artefacts from the wardrobe of Empress Eugenie and other stunning pieces from the Blackborne Lace Collection.

To find out more about the collections amassed by John and Joséphine Bowes, you can learn about them either by collection or by gallery. We have also compiled a list of what we think are our most prized possessions, and things you should look out for on a visit. Though we recognise that we all have different tastes and interests, so the 25 Outstanding Treasures is just the tip of the iceberg!

Our 18th century silver swan automaton is one of our most loved objects, and for conservation purposes is only played once a day at 2.00. However, there is a whole host of information about it, and its last major overhaul in 2008 by experienced horologist, Matthew Reed.

We also have our changing Director's Choice. This is a painting chosen by Adrian Jenkins and displayed in the foyer on the wall opposite the entrance. You can discover more about Adrian's reasons for choosing the painting or paintings from our varied fine art collection and gain a personal insight into his choice. Often the Director's Choice is from our picture store, so it gives a unique opportunity to see a work of art not usually on view to the public.

It is possible to search our database of Museum, library or archive collections here.

25 Outstanding Treasures


25 Outstanding Treasures

Galleries


Galleries

Founders' Collection


Founders' Collection

Director's Choice


Director's Choice

By Collection


By Collection

The Silver Swan


The Silver Swan

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!