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***After some flooding, some items have been removed from the Bawden Gallery and in the Settlement Gallery. There is also a partial closure in

Somewhere in England. Please call 01234 718618 to check that the displays you would like to see are unaffected.***


Our fine art collection consists of watercolours, drawings and prints which cannot be on permanent display as they will become damaged from too much exposure to light. We display the collection in themed exhibitions but sometimes your favourites may not be out. If there is a particular work you are coming in especially to see, please call or email in advance to check whether it is on display.  


Current Exhibitions and Displays:

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Quilla Constance - Teasing Out Contingencies

Opening 17 June 2023 - 7 January 2024

Sir William Harpur Gallery – Free Entry

Experience a new painting-installation by interdisciplinary artist Quilla Constance (aka QC). QC’s artworks for this exhibition are set against opulent interiors from Buckingham Palace and inspired by performative interactions and conversations with the public across London and the South East, through a series of performance workshops at Tate Exchange/Tate Modern in 2019. QC's works for this show also reference her collaboration with presenter-comedians Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan for the TV docuseries 'Rob & Romesh Vs Art', Sky One.  


Quilla Constance Cello Performance

2 December 2023 2-2:15pm 


Join artist Quilla Constance (aka: QC) who will be giving an improvised, atonal cello performance among her vast visual artworks in her solo exhibition: Teasing Out Contingencies, at The Higgins Bedford (Sir William Harpur Gallery).


This project is funded by Arts Council England - supported by Tate Modern, and Bedford Creative Arts.


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We Are Ten

Opening 27 May - 28 January 2024

Wixamtree and Connections Galleries, and throughout The Higgins Bedford

It is ten years since The Higgins Bedford opened its doors following a major refurbishment uniting the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Bedford Museum. To celebrate our first decade we asked some of the amazing people that we have worked with during this time to choose an artwork from our collection. The result is a vibrant mix of paintings and prints of old favourites and rarely shown works.

Lillian Stannard (1877–1944) An Old Herbaceous (Castle Close, Bedford), c.1906


In the Connections Gallery is the choice of Richard Wildman and his brother Stephen. Richard was one of the town’s best known historians and protector of some its finest buildings. After his death in 2018, his brother generously donated a large part of Richard’s collection of paintings of Bedford to The Higgins. Over twenty pictures from the collection are on display.


Click here for details of our exhibition talks and tours.

This project is funded by Arts Council England 


 Bawden To Winnipeg

Edward Bawden - Trains, Planes & Automobiles

Opening 11 March 2023 - 28 January 2024

Edward Bawden Gallery Free Entry

 Let Edward Bawden transport you in this exhibition celebrating all things travel. Drawn exclusively from the Edward Bawden archive, see large linocuts of London’s iconic stations and an array of wonderful vehicles from hot air balloons to jumbo jets and tall ships to cruise liners. 


For more information about the exhibition here




 Aragon Lace Display size


Aragon Lacemakers: Keeping Lacemaking Alive

Opening 4 April 2023 -28 April 2024

Outside Settlement Gallery

Bobbin Lace is integral to the history of Bedford as it was a major local cottage industry. The method of making lace hasn't changed but the style has, bringing lace up to date with modern trends. Aragon Lacemakers have just celebrated their 45th anniversary and are delighted to display a variety of contemporary lace made by members; from bracelets to gloves and coloured pictures to garters. There will also be plenty of opportunities to have a go at this fascinating heritage craft - it's easier than it looks!



Cultural Roots Sound System

Cultural Roots Sound System Museum

7 October 2023 – 28 April 2024

Outside Somewhere in England Gallery – Free Entry

Recently showcased at The Pride of Place Bedford shop, the Sound System Museum is live at The Higgins this October. Cultural Roots Sound System Museum was started in 1979 by a group of friends in Bedford. This equipment provided valuable entertainment to Caribbean households in Bedford, owing to discrimination excluding them from socialising in local bars and clubs.


The Sound System Museum has preserved this precious memorabilia and hope it will jog the memories and hearts of yesteryear. Visitors can see first-hand what it takes to build and run a reggae sound system and experience this at special events and workshops.



break the stigma collage

Let's Be Open About Mental Health to Break the Stigma

Castle Lane Cases Outside The Higgins Bedford, Free Entry


The Higgins Bedford has worked with the Let's Be Open About Mental Health campaign to showcase this display of poems, artwork and messages made by local people, to give encouragment to people who may be struggling with their mental health at this current time.


Find out more about the display here >


poish independence

Poland: in Bedford

Great Bedfordians Gallery, Free Entry


Explore the stories of Bedford's Polish community in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Polish Independence. Follow their experiences of early life in Poland, memories of migration, journeys to Britain and life after settling in Bedford.


Find out more about the exhibition here >


arion on the dolphin

Spotlight on the Collections

Spotlight Gallery, Free Entry 

The Spotlight Gallery currently hosts a display of Greek coins from our collections. Future displays will explore a wide range of themes, including objects and their stories from our stores, recent archaeological finds from around Bedford and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.


Find out more about the display here > 



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'Paved with Gold': Bedford's Windrush Generation

Online Exhibition

Explore the stories of the people that settled in Bedford, and the contributions they have made to the community in this online exhibition.


Find out more about the exhibition here >


International Women's Day - Pearl Thomson

Online Display


Celebrate the life of one of our Great Bedfordians; Pearl Thomson. Born in Jamaica, Pearl arrived in Bedford in 1956 and became the town's first female teacher from the Caribbean.


Find out more about the display here >