ALIENS ‘invaded’ a County Durham museum yesterday to give visitors an out-of-this-world experience.

That’s after The Bowes Museum hosted the GeTINvolved Alien Beach Party exhibition in the museum’s toy galleries.

Members of GeTINvolved - a group for individuals aged 19 and above with learning difficulties, disabilities and those with mental health issues - got to know the museum’s collection and books by the author and illustrator Nick Sharratt - whose exhibition Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants is coming to the museum in July.

They worked with the sculptor Vicky Holbrough to create Nick Sharratt style characters including: a duck with a monkey’s tail, a monkey in red shoes, a lion/croc/monkey and a light up space ship full of green aliens.

Children visiting the Alien Beach Party also got to have a go at making their own colourful clay alien to add to our Beach Party scene.

Visitors to the exhibition can also enter a writing competition of up to 500 words with the title, Alien Beach Party.

Julia Dunn, The Bowes Museum Education Coordinator, said: “This is a great opportunity for people to let their imagination go wild, thinking about what weird and wonderful things these fantastic creations have been up to or are planning.”

Entries can be emailed to or handed in at reception for the attention of Education. The closing date is June 16, when the Alien Beach Party closes. The winners will be announced and presented with their prizes by Nick Sharratt on July 20.

GeTINvolved is a TIN Arts course funded by Durham County Council’s Adult Learning and Skills Service.

It offers non-accredited learning and through regular workshops and activities it develops the skills, knowledge and understanding required to become a cultural volunteer.

Claire Defty, operations and development manager at Tin Arts, said: “Working in partnership with The Bowes Museum has been a great opportunity for us and our participants. Our participants have had the chance to volunteer in one of the region’s significant cultural venues, learning about its collections, the area’s local history as well as learning the skills to become a cultural volunteer.

“We work hard to identify and remove barriers to the creative and performing arts. We create opportunities for those with the least access to the arts – helping them realise and celebrate their creative ability and potential. We do this by increasing the level of participation by people of all ages and abilities, by developing new skills, being creative and celebrating talents and achievements.”

The Bowes Museum has worked with TIN Arts since 2017 and has also received funding from Art UK’s Sculpture Around You programme.