The Bowes Museum has launched a new education programme using its incredible collections to bring learning to life and engage pupils. 

School children take part in a hands-on workshop at The Bowes Museum

There’s a new education offer at the Bowes Museum with a host of hands-on sessions for primary and secondary pupils.

There are several packages for primary and secondary schools to choose from covering a range of subjects from art and history to English and design. 

Teachers can also book an Artist Maker Workshop at the museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham, for a range of specialisms including print making, animation, clay work and textiles. In addition, the CPD offer has evolved, each workshop introducing teachers and EVCs to a professional artist with vast experience in delivering skills-based workshops for all ages. 

Education manager Julia Dunn told us the idea behind the new programme was to use the museum’s extensive collections to inspire children and spark curiosity and conversations. 

She added: “We have really thought about what The Bowes Museum and its collections represent in developing the new offer for schools. The feedback has been very positive so far which is great and we will be building on this. 

“Our ethos at the museum is to enrich children and young people’s lives, enabling them to reach their potential. We hope visits will provide cultural capital for young people, particularly when it comes to them having new experiences.”

School children take part in a workshop at the Bowes Museum

Pupils are encouraged to use various skills as they complete different workshops at the museum.

The new packages for schools include: 

Pots From The Past (Key Stages 1-2): This 90-minute workshop explores the pots and vessels in the museum collection, investigating how they were made, used and the tools practised by early makers, from the Neolithic to the present day. 

Landscapes and Portraits (Key Stages 1-2): Students will experience and respond to a range of artists working in still life, portraiture and landscape painting through discussion and critical thinking tasks, games, drawing and mark making. 

Product Design (Key Stages 3-5): Your group will get the opportunity to work together to understand the design processes, materials and techniques employed in the past and consider contemporary versions acknowledging sustainability. 

Fashion & Textile Timeline Experience (Key Stages 3-5): Students will take a journey through fashion going back to the 16th century. They’ll make first hand sketches and engage with the change in styles, from heavily embroidered hand-crafted textiles to cut and construction innovations. 

“We hope visits will provide cultural capital for young people, particularly when it comes to them having new experiences.”

Julia Dunn, education manager, The Bowes Museum

Julia highlighted that there is plenty for teachers to ‘mix and match’ from on their schools ‘menu’ now and they can even request a workshop from eight artists working across different specialisms. She said: “For example, if they wanted to do a workshop on the Mayan civilisation, we have an artist who specialises in that subject who can create a workshop and students will work alongside them. 

“This also ties into inspiring children about future careers too, encouraging them to explore different creative industries.”

She also said there will be new gallery spaces, as part of the museum’s The Curiosity Project, which will further enhance the experience and facilities for school groups. 

For bookings and enquiries, schools can contact the learning team on 01833 694602 or email There’s more information at