The Bowes Museum > Collection > Library & Archive > Explore The Archive > Quick Guide to the contents of the Archives

Quick Guide to the contents of the Archives


  • John Bowes’ letters to and from family, friends, land agents, solicitors, business partners, art dealers etc covering estate management, political activity, horse racing, coalmining business, properties, life in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War and Commune 1870-1871, museum collections and building the museum 1810s-1880s
    NB. The Strathmore Archives and The Bowes Museum archives at Durham Record Office include associated material
  • Bills from art dealers in France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and England (inc material now in museum) 1860s-1880s inc material bought at Paris Exhibition 1867, London Exhibition 1871
  • Household bills 1850s-1880s
  • Bills from building suppliers etc, inc Monbro, under M. Pellechet for work on properties in Paris and Louveciennes 1850s-1860s
  • Sale and exhibition catalogues 1850s-1880s
  • Plans for museum by M. Pellechet and Mr Watson 1860s onwards
  • Records of Théâtre des Variétés, Paris in which John Bowes had a financial interest 1847-1855
  • Material relating to earlier members of the Bowes family inc Sir George Bowes (16th century), Mary Eleanor Bowes (18th century)
  • Trustees of the museum records inc minutes, financial, legal matters etc from 1880s
  • Curators’ correspondence from 1880s
  • Exhibition files from 1970s
  • Staff records – wages, applications etc to about 1950s

Click here to return to the Explore the Archive page.

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!