The Bowes Museum > Exhibitions > 2017 > Turkish Tulips > The Hoft Examiner


Around the beautiful Victorian halls of The Bowes Museum, winding up grand staircases into its picture galleries and opulent rooms, tulip artworks have been placed like clues to a treasure hunt or a detective mystery. As a timely and enlightening exhibition celebrating 125 years of The Bowes Museum this engaging trail meanders through the history, culture and science of the last 1000 years from Central Asia to Western Europe and back again.


In this unique Museum created by Joséphine and John Bowes the familiar tulip becomes un-familiar, as its role in history chronicles a greater play. When the plot on the world stage gets confusing, we need a simple tale to walk us through it. Thus our floral court jester steps through the fourth wall to guide us through our past and help us to understand how to navigate our future.


Did You Know?

A tulip was once the most expensive flower in the world! A single tulip bulb sold for 5,500 guilders in 1633 – the equivalent of £800,000 today.

Oops! The name ‘tulip’ is a 
lost-in-translation mistake! When a traveller in Turkey asked what the flower was called, he was told it was a tülbentor turban, which the flower resembles.

The Tulip Revolution led to a new 
government in Kyrgyzstan. Tulips have been central to the Islamic revolution in Iran since 1979.

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!