THE Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle has received a grant of £704,161 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen.

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country, including The Bowes Museum in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced on Friday.

The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle is named after its founders, the businessman and philanthropist John Bowes and his French wife Joséphine, and opened to the public in 1892. It houses an internationally important collection of European fine and decorative art.

A large proportion of the funding will go into the museum’s reserves. The rest will be used in a number of areas, including undertaking major audience development analysis, which will allow the Museum to reach potential new audiences, building a classroom and shelters in the grounds.

It will also be used for expanding family fun and children and young people’s events and activities as well as hosting health and well-being classes in the park and boosting outreach work.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:“Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.

“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors - helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

Bowes Museum director Adrian Jenkins said: “This money is a very welcome and fantastic boost to the Museum’s reopening plans.

"It will help us be more financially secure in the longer term, develop detailed audience research to reach out to potential new visitors, expand our use of the parkland by creating an outdoor classroom and shelters allowing us more opportunities to deliver exciting events for all ages in the grounds and increase the number of outreach activities we put on in the community.”

Arts Council England chair, Sir Nicholas Serota said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work.

"We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”

The funding awarded is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.