• Durham OnAir

Platinum Jubilee Celebration Opens At Bowes Museum


See previously unseen footage of Her Majesty The Queen as a child in the latest exhibition to open at The Bowes Museum which celebrates her time on the throne.


A Platinum Jubilee Celebration is a special exhibition which explores Teesdale's links with the Royal Family, including the Museum’s Royal connections, people's memorabilia and memories of street parties as well as the unseen footage.


Over 200 pupils from Montalbo primary and St Mary's RC primary schools in Barnard Castle and St Wilfred's RCVA primary school in Bishop Auckland drew the flags of commonwealth countries which have been put together to create a Commonwealth mosaic in the style of a stamp measuring 150cm by 200cm.


Sixteen children also took part in an oral history project where they found out about their families recollections of street parties and royal visits then recorded their memories, which are being played in the gallery. Visitors can also hear Peter Stubbs from Teesdale's recollections of being awarded an MBE at Buckingham Palace for creating the farmwatch scheme. These were all recorded by Tom Whittaker, the Music Studio Coordinator at the TCR Hub in Barnard Castle.


People from Barnard Castle, Hutton Magna, Bishop Auckland, Crook, Newton Aycliffe, Shildon and London all contributed items to the timeline of street parties, which starts with a recording of the Coronation that people can sit and watch. Visitors can walk around the display and see souvenirs from significant royal events from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s and 2012 including coins, magazines, mugs, trays, newspapers, postcards, playing cards, hampers and handkerchiefs to name but a few.





Members of the Barnard Castle division of the Girl Guides made all the items of pretend food on display in the street party scene.


In the Bowes family corner of the exhibition people will be able to see three Turner watercolours of Bowes Tower and Gibside as well as a model of Streatlam Castle, the ancestral home of Museum founder John Bowes. There are also Bowes family ledgers and journals dating back to 1653 on display as well as a photograph of Lady Glamis, later the Countess of Strathmore, opening the bandstand (which is no longer there) in the grounds of the Museum in 1912.


There is an area where people can sit and watch previously unseen footage of Her Majesty The Queen playing a child, they can also find out more about the man behind the camera, the artist Philip De László, who painted many influential and powerful figures including some of the Museum's founder's relatives.


There is also an area devoted to Her Majesty The Queen Mother, who had very close ties to The Bowes Museum visiting on many occasions and who was also a Patron of the Friends of The Bowes Museum.


Curator, Howard Coutts, said: "We were overwhelmed by the public's response to our appeal for help putting together this special exhibition. It's really lovely to see the films that we've been lent showing community celebrations in Kalafat near the Museum, alongside the De László footage of The Queen. It's great to have the three Turner watercolours on show together in this display which tells the wonderful story of the Museum and communities links to the Royal family during this Platinum Jubilee year."


The Museum is running a programme of fun events to accompany the exhibition including: Corgifest (and other dogs welcome) on Saturday, 28 May from 11am to 3pm, where people can take part in our jubilee dog show with dog agility, lots of fun classes including waggiest tail, best lookalike, loveliest lady, most fabulous fella, the coolest pup, best rescue dog, golden oldie, best trick. Everyone can come and watch for free or pay £5 to enter their dog in as many classes as they like. There will also be dog fancy dress and puppiccinos on the terrace.


Take part in the Dogtastic fun crafts on Saturday, 28 May from 10.30am to 3.30pm where you can create some canine crafts paw-fect for all the family.


Families can join in activities and party games with Chase and Marshal from Pup Patrol in the outdoor classroom and have their photos taken with them too as part of Corgifest from 2pm until 3.30pm on Saturday, 28 May. Tickets are £10 a child, under 1s and one parent/guardian free, spaces are limited.


Come and create some colourful bunting to help decorate the Museum and some celebration flags to take home in our Bunting Bonanza events on Monday and Tuesday 30 and 31 May from 10.30am to 3.30pm.


Join our Family Brunch Club on Tuesday, 31 May and join in activities and party games with Cinderella and Prince Charming in Café Bowes. Have your photo taken with them too. Decorate and make your own King and Queen crown and get a party bag to take home. Spaces are limited for this event which runs from 10.30 until 12noon. Tickets are £15 per child, under 1s and one parent/guardian free, £5 per additional adult.


Visitors can also create their own portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, using lots of collage materials in our Portrait of a Queen activities on Wednesday and Thursday, 1 and 2 June from 10.30am to 3.30pm.


Join us and enjoy a Community picnic in the grounds on Sunday, 5 July from 11am to 4pm. There will be prizes for the best dressed picnic table, blanket and jubilee themed costume or fancy dress for children and adults. There will also be children's arts and crafts on offer as part of the Jubilee Jubilations event on the same day from 10.30am until 3.30pm where children can make a sparkly crown fit for a Queen or a proud Royal Guard standing tall to protect their picnic. Cafe Bowes will be producing special afternoon teas for this event which can be booked on the Museum's website ahead of the picnic. They are £16.95 without a glass of fizz or £21.95 with a glass of fizz per person, available to eat in or take away and enjoy in the grounds.


The Platinum Jubilee Celebration exhibition is open from 10am to 5pm daily at the Barnard Castle based Museum up to and including Sunday, 5 June 2022.

Entry to Cafe Bowes and the Museum shop is free.