The Bowes Museum > Collection > Explore The Collection > Director's Choice

Director's Choice


The Bowes Museum has the richest and most extensive collection of fine and decorative arts in the north of England. Every object is intriguing and interesting, either by virtue of its quality or history. John and Joséphine collected extensively and wisely in the 19th century; later additions in the 20th and 21st centuries saw the same interest and knowledge applied to a wider range of collections, into the fields of English decorative arts, local history and archaeology. Therefore, there is always something to be said about the collections and the ‘Director’s choice’ may not be the ‘best’ or most valuable object in the collection, but one that is significant and throws light on the wider world beyond.

The spring of 2020 posed challenges to museums around the world when, like others, The Bowes Museum had to close its doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We didn't want our visitors and followers to miss out on the amazing collection so our Director, Adrian Jenkins, gave virtual tours, full of his personal insight into the couple who created this fantastic Museum, revealing some of the hidden treasures and secrets within the collection and how some of the objects came to be here, including his favourites.

Watch all videos below and follow the link for more #MuseumFromHome content.

Happy Birthday The Bowes Museum


The Passion Altarpiece


The 19th Century Picture Gallery


The Religious Picture Gallery


The 18th Century Picture Gallery


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!