The Bowes Museum > Collection > Library & Archive > Explore The Archive

Explore The Archive


The archive material falls into three main categories:

●  The records of John and Joséphine Bowes, the Museum’s founders, relating to their life in France including John’s interest in the Théâtre des Variétés, their collecting activities and their involvement in planning and building the Museum.

●  The records of the Museum’s administration from John’s death in 1885.

●  Miscellaneous records relating to the Bowes family or the Museum

The archives (except the miscellaneous records) have generally been catalogued to series level.  Work is in progress, thanks to a National Cataloguing Award, to catalogue correspondence and bills to item level - Search the Database.

The archives can be consulted in the Reading Room which is open to the public on a two-week rota.

For further information, you can contact the Archivist:

libraryandarchives@thebowesmuseum.org.uk

01833 690606 ext. 208


The Archivist, The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 8NP

The Archive Catalogue was produced with support from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives

History Of The Archive


Quick Contents Guide


Top 20 Archive Documents


The Bowes Museum grounds are open!


Due to the government announcement on Thursday 17 December, that County Durham is to remain in COVID tier 3 restrictions, The Bowes Museum unfortunately will remain closed to all visitors. However, the grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 - 4.00 daily, and we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, two spring trails and outdoor guided tours are available from 29 March 2021.

As we have already been shut for a number of weeks and there is much uncertainty around possible further restrictions, we have decided to use this period to undertake some work in Café Bowes, alongside performing some much-needed structural repairs to the building, notably to the windows. January and February are usually quieter times for the Museum, often due to severe weather, so we believe that this is the best time to carry out such works with the least amount of disruption to our visitors.

We have therefore decided to remain closed for a period of four weeks following any near-future tier 2 announcement from the government, as this will allow us time to deep clean the Museum prior to reopening our doors once again. We will, of course, keep you updated as the guidelines change.

Your ongoing support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated and we very much look forward to welcoming you back into the building as early as possible in 2021.

We hope to be able to offer a few COVID-safe outdoor events over the coming months, about which we shall make further announcements as soon as possible.