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Document of the Month


Anniversary card marking first anniversary of Joséphine's death, 1875

Joséphine died in February 1874 and her funeral was held in the church of Ste. Trinité, Paris.  Following French custom, her coffin remained at the church for a year and then an anniversary service was held.  This card was probably sent to John by one of Joséphine’s circle of female friends to mark the anniversary.  The coffin was then taken to the chapel at Gibside, another Bowes property in County Durham, while a memorial chapel was to be built in the Museum grounds.  The chapel was not completed before John’s death in 1885.  Eventually the Trustees and the Roman Catholic diocese of Hexham exchanged land and the Bowes Memorial Church was consecrated in 1928, when the coffins of John and Joséphine were interred just outside the church. (Ref. JB/8/5)

Information about reopening


We are delighted the Prime Minister has announced that museums can reopen this summer. We understand you are excited at the prospect of visiting The Bowes Museum and would like to assure you we have been developing plans to welcome you back into our beautiful building by late August; we are working on vital social distancing measures so you, staff and volunteers can be confident of a safe environment which everyone can enjoy.

We take pride in offering a relaxed and enjoyable day out for all the family, and with that in mind we are extending the Museum passes we have issued in the last year. Our exceptional Norman Cornish exhibition will continue until Autumn 2020 and we are planning to release details of a packed events programme, including the Christmas Market, over the coming weeks.

In the meantime the grounds of The Bowes Museum are open to be enjoyed by walkers and cyclists, in line with the government guidance on COVID-19. The parkland can be accessed through the front pedestrian gates between 10.30-4.45 daily. We would like to thank everyone for their continued support and understanding, and ask people to respect social distancing guidelines when they visit.

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