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Durham University

Libraries and Special Collections in County Durham

The Bowes Museum

Purpose-built as a public art gallery for John Bowes and his wife Joséphine, The Bowes Museum offers an extensive array of research collections across a vast range of disciplines. 

Renowned for its outstanding art collection, The Bowes Museum also facilitates research in the fields of archaeology, ethnography, local history, art history, social history, theatre history, French literature, fashion, architecture, Oriental studies, the history of collections and collectors, the Industrial Revolution, and the history of the Bowes family.


All researchers are welcome to use the reference library, archives, and museum collections. Researchers should contact The Bowes Museum beforehand to plan their visit and identify relevant books and documents. Users can request up to 3 items in advance.

Upon arrival, users must provide two forms of ID as proof of signature and permanent address.

There is no charge for admission to the Reading Room but charges apply for admission to the Museum Galleries.

Opening times

Week 1:

Tuesday, 10.30 - 4.00 
and Wednesday, 10.30 - 1.00 

Week 2:

Wednesday, 1.30 - 4.00 
and Thursday, 10.30 - 4.00 

Please contact The Bowes Museum to check dates for Weeks 1 and 2.

Contact The Bowes Museum

The Bowes Museum

The Reference Library and Archives
The Bowes Museum 
Barnard Castle
County Durham
DL12 8NP

Tel: +44 (0)1833 690606 ext. 208