The Bowes Museum > Exhibitions > 2014 > How to Hide a Lion

How to Hide a Lion


26 October 2013 - 9 February 2014


This entertaining and interactive exhibition brought to life the stories of acclaimed children’s author and illustrator, Helen Stephens. 

Named after her book, How to Hide a Lion (nominated in the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal award), the exhibition explored where the ideas and inspiration for Stephens’ characters came from and how she turned those ideas into stories.  

Visitors were able to enjoy delving into the dressing up rack, having their picture taken alongside a caricature of a lion, and make full use of the reading area and the role playing table. The exhibition was complemented by family friendly information panels, plus some of Helen’s original artwork and other stories, such as Fleabag, and large cut-out characters from her books. There was also be a lion trail around the whole Museum.

Helen, who grew up in the nearby village of Staindrop, is also famed for her illustration work. She had just completed the visuals for Michael 
Morpurgo’s (of War Horse fame) latest children’s book Jo-Jo and the Melon Donkey, released in August 2013, an early draft of which had been loaned to the exhibition by the author.

The show also featured a variety of objects relating to Stephens, including school reports and drawings, while limited edition prints from her 
books were on sale in the Museum Shop.

Related Events


Family Fun Day – How to Hide a Lion
29 October, 11.00 – 4.00 
Celebrate the opening of the new children’s exhibition and take part in this fun packed day of drop in activities relating to Helen Stephens’ amazing books. Make a pop-up iceberg card, a collage character, a lion mask or design a moving suit of armour! Children must be accompanied by an adult, for whom normal admission applies.

Shhhhh Storytime!
1 November, 10.30 - 12.00 or 1.00 - 2.30, £3.00 per child
Listen to ‘Fleabag’, written by Helen Stephens, and make some wonderful crafts relating to the book. Booking required on 01833 690606. Children must be accompanied by an adult, for whom there is no charge for this event.

Family Fun Day – Meet the Author, Helen Stephens
24 November, 11.00 - 3.00
Listen to Helen Stephens reading her wonderful stories before trying a variety of fun craft activities linked to the books. Suitable for all ages. No 
booking required. Children must be accompanied by an adult, for whom normal admission applies.

Mini Illustrators - workshop
26 January, 10.30 – 12.00 or 1.30 - 3.00, £4.00 per child
Learn about being an illustrator with Helen Stephens before having a go yourself! Booking required on 01833 690606. Suitable for children 5+ Children must be accompanied by an adult for whom there is no charge for this event.

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.