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Visitor Numbers up at The Higgins Bedford - Over 40,000 visitors to Bedford attraction


Blockbuster exhibition J.M.W Turner & The Art of Watercolour as well as a successful and vibrant events programme have contributed to a busy year at The Higgins Bedford. The art gallery and museum has welcomed 41,787 visitors in the year 2015-16.

J.M.W. Turner & The Art of Watercolour offered a unique chance to see all nine of Bedford’s watercolours by J.M.W. Turner together for the first time. These were displayed alongside works by contemporaries of Turner, and artists inspired by his work. A very popular and well received exhibition; visitors have said:

‘Bedford is very fortunate to host this small collection of Turner’s – wow. Thank you!’

‘Absolutely pitch perfect hanging! Excellent exhibition and it fits the galleries really well.’

‘An exceptionally intelligent and interesting exhibition, particularly in the variety of artists on display’

BedPop Science Lab also brought record-breaking numbers to The Higgins Bedford. The event on 12th March 2016 was the busiest day the art gallery and museum had since reopening in June 2013. Over 1700 people enjoyed the day of free science events that included a drone flying competition and some rocket powered car workshops.

Earlier in the year The Higgins Bedford was host to Abstract Britain, when visitors enjoyed the opportunity to make their own abstract works of art, as well as seeing works by some great British artists including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Howard Hodgkin and Ben Nicholson.

‘Best Art Exhibition the Higgins has done to date “fantastic”!’

‘A magnificent exhibition which shows how exciting and interesting Abstract Art is!!’

Many visitors were moved by Highlanders: Billeted in Bedford. Part of the First World War Centenary, the exhibition explored the stories of the Highland troops billeted in Bedford in preparation for going to war.

‘Sad to see this wonderful exhibition come to an end, but delighted that the fascinating, heart-warming and touching story was brought to life for so many people.’

Over 1000 families have enjoyed the regular Family Join-In Activities.  These activities are held during every school holiday. Visitors have enjoyed all sorts of activities including making prehistoric sea-monsters, ceramic tiles and even a bit of stone-age cave-painting.

Two exciting new exhibitions are coming to the Higgins this month.

Bedford’s War Machines  - This new exhibition at takes a close-up look at the Simplex railway locomotives made in Bedford and explores the town’s home-front contribution to the Great War.


Beautiful Bodies  - Lucien Freud, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Stanley Spencer and Dora Carrington are all included in this exhibition: a celebration of the differing approaches to drawing the human figure taken by British artists.

The exhibitions will run 23rd April – 2nd October 2016 and are free to visit.

Opening hours:

Tuesday to Saturday 11am – 5pm

Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 2 – 5pm

Don't Miss

Borough Hall Exterior

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