The Bowes Museum > Collection > Library & Archive

Library & Archive


TheReading Room for public access to the Reference Library and Archive has been developed above the Museum’s new accessible picture store in the central dome of the Museum.  The library has a wide range of general and art reference books as well as local interest books and rare books. 

The John and Joséphine Bowes archive and the Museum’s archive that in the past have not been accessible to the public can now be consulted in the Reading Room.  There is access to the Internet and to the databases of the Museum’s collections of objects, books and archives. There are facilities for individuals and groups of learners, staff, and researchers, primarily from GCSE upwards.

The Reading Room is open to members of the public to use the Reference Library and to consult the archives, free of charge. The opening hours are on a two-week rota: Week 1 open Tuesday 10.30-4.00 and Wednesday 10.30-1.00, Week 2 open Wednesday 1.30-4.00 and Thursday 10.30-4.00. Please contact the Museum to check which week applies to your intended visit. You will be asked to complete a user application form on your first visit and to show two official forms of ID (to give one example each of your address and signature). You do not have to book a visit in advance but it is advisable to contact us to check that what you want to see is available and if the Reference Library is definitely open to the public.

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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.