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John Bowes created an endowment fund for the Museum before his death in 1885, seven years before it opened to the public. The fund provides a valuable income stream for the Museum, but it is fair to say that John Bowes did not anticipate fully the true cost of maintaining such a magnificent building and caring for such wonderful collections.Today the Trustees of The Bowes Museum would like to grow this fund further to generate monies to support all aspects of the Museum’s work.


We have also been successful in our application to Catalyst: Endowments, a £30m investment in a match-funding initiative for the creation of endowments to support the UK’s heritage from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The target for the Bowes Museum is to generate a minimum of £1m over four years to be matched 1:1. This will give the Museum a total endowment of £2m which it will aim to continue building after the funding period ends. The endowment will be invested permanently to provide income in perpetuity which will support the Museum’s charitable activities.

Donations to the Endowment Fund will be eligible for gift aid. Combined with the match funding, the benefit to the Museum will be significantly higher than the net contribution from a UK tax payer.  As an example, for a 50% higher rate tax payer, after all tax relief and match funding, the total investment into the endowment fund will be four times the net payment by the donor. Similar inheritance tax relief and the same match funding is available on bequests making the Endowment Fund a highly tax efficient means of leaving a gift to the Museum.

We would like to invite you to support the Museum by donating towards our endowment fund. Your donation will be giving substantial and direct support towards securing the future of the Museum. It will enable it to continue to operate as a world class institution and further develop its exhibitions, education programme and conservation. It will also help to achieve its aim to become a centre of research and excellence, as well as being able to provide a finer offer for our regular visitor base.

For further information on our endowment fund please contact Richard Welsby, Head of Finance at richard.welsby@thebowesmuseum.org.uk