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The Bowes Museum is launching an exciting crowdfunding campaign appealing for people to help restore the iconic Silver Swan and be rewarded for their generosity.

Following a grant of £146,324 from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, the County Durham Museum is undertaking conservation and repair on the Silver Swan. However, at least £18,000 more is needed to reach the project target of £199,142.

As such it’s launching a crowdfunding campaign with Art Fund Art Happens. You can help the Museum reach its goal and get your hands on some fabulous exclusive rewards as a thank you.

The crowdfunding campaign will run from 30th October until 6th December and people can give any amount they like. Supporter rewards include a Swan tote bag or t shirt, a set of limited edition Swan postcards and prints, as well as the opportunity to see behind the scenes in a workshop at the restorer’s studio. There is also the opportunity to attend the Swan's first pblic performance and, for one very lucky person, the chance to wind the Silver Swan when she performs again for the first time.

Kelly Smith, The Bowes Museum's Director of Development and Communications, said: "This is a really exciting campaign that we're hoping will touch that sense of pride that people in the community feel towards the Silver Swan. It has a special place in people's memories, from them remembering their grandparents putting a sixpence in the slot to make it perform to being spellbound by its graceful movements. We are grateful to the Art Fund for helping us to put together this campaign."

The Silver Swan is a life size, solid silver replica of a female swan and is one of the finest examples of 18th century automata in the world. It was made in the workshop of James Cox in London and was first shown in his museum in 1773. It has three clockwork mechanisms and contains more than 2,000 moving parts, with several thousand in its whole.

It performed daily until 2020 when the Museum closed during to the pandemic.

The work to restore and conserve the Silver Swan is being carried out by the Cumbria Clock Company, alongside the Museum's in-house conservation team. Visitors are able to watch some of the conservation work in progress in the Silver Swan gallery, with volunteer explainers on hand to tell them more or answer any questions.

People are able to donate to the crowdfunding campaign by following this link: or by contacting the Museum on 01833 690606.


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