Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Bristol’s premier museum and art gallery houses important collections of minerals and fossils, natural history, eastern art, world wildlife, Egyptology, archaeology and fine and applied art.
Tuesday - Sunday: 10am - 5pm
Plus Mondays during Bristol school holidays and Bank Holiday Mondays: 10am - 5pm
No admission fee - donations welcome
- National Art Pass
For a reminder of your visit, the Museum shop contains award-winning merchandise, including a beautiful guide to the art collection, reproduction prints from the art gallery collections, greetings cards, a wide range of books for all ages and interests, unusual gifts and Bristol-branded gifts to name just a few. To view the stock and for more information, visit the Museum Shop shop.bristolmuseums.org.uk
The Geology, Applied Art and Eastern Art collections at Bristol's City Museum & Art Gallery are Designated Collections of national importance.
Among the Designated applied art collections with a strong Bristol connection are important collections of delftware and glass. Also designated are Bristol's geology collections and fine and applied arts from the Far East, including the celebrated Schiller Collection.
Part of Bristol Museums’ Designated Collections related to Bristol’s role as a manufacturing city and major seaport is on display here. Other parts of these collections can be seen at Georgian House, Red Lodge, and Blaise Castle House Museum. Please contact Bristol Museums for more information if you wish to see a specific item.
At Bristol's City Museum & Art Gallery there is a choice of galleries situated upstairs full of artworks: Old Masters, French School, British Collection, Modern Art and the Bristol School.
Alongside in the adjoining galleries, the decorative arts collections can be found: Eastern Art, Ceramics, Silverware and Glassware. On the lower floors - a fine collection of glittering minerals, ancient fossils and a large archaeology gallery showing the South West's geographic formation. Close by is the World Wildlife Gallery containing many examples of endangered or extinct animals, including the much-loved Alfred the Gorilla.
The popular Egyptology gallery contains real mummies besides other items and situated next door is the hugely impressive wall decoration made over 3,000 years ago - the Assyrian Reliefs. A natural history gallery contains examples of aquatic habitats in the south west of England and an interactive map of local wildlife sites and a freshwater aquarium containing fish typical of the region. Throughout the Museum and Art Gallery material from other countries can be seen, including pottery and clothing.
Science and Technology, Religion, Photography, Natural Sciences, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Aviation, Archaeology
Key artists and exhibits
- Old Masters, French School, British Collection, Modern Art and the Bristol School
- Eastern Art, Ceramics, Silverware and Glassware
- Archaelogy / fossils
- Egyptology / mummies
- Assyrian Reliefs
- Pottery and clothing
- Natural history
- Endangered or extinct animals, including the much-loved Alfred the Gorilla
- Designated Collection
Empire Through the Lens
- 30 September 2017 — 31 August 2018 *on now
Bristol Archives holds an extraordinary collection of photographs and films showing both public and private aspects of life in the British Empire and Commonwealth.
From about 500,000 images, we asked 27 people to each choose one piece. The selectors include development workers, artists, photographers, historians and relatives of the photographers.
They each bring a different perspective to the collection, and represent a broad range of personal knowledge, aesthetic appreciation and academic thought on the people and countries shown in the images, the legacy of Empire and the post-colonial experience.
Most of the collection dates from the 1880s to the 1960s and is just a snippet of the many thousands of images that are being catalogued and digitised.
Please note that the exhibition may contain some challenging images.
This exhibition is a display of the collection held by Bristol Archives and will take place at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.
The ‘Exploring Empire’ cataloguing project was funded by the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives.
No admission fee – donations welcome.
Hokusai and Hiroshige: Masters of Japanese landscape prints
- 22 September 2018 — 6 January 2019
Featuring original woodblock prints from Bristol’s collection, this exhibition will explore the radical developments in landscape prints made by two of Japan’s best-loved artists, Hokusai and Hiroshige.
From the 1830s to the 1850s, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) developed a dynamic new genre of landscape prints that became hugely popular with their customers in Japan and later with western artists and collectors.
The exhibition will explore how Hokusai exploited a growing interest in Japanese landscape through his ground-breaking series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji and how he experimented with newly available Prussian Blue dye to develop a striking new colour palette. The selection will include his iconic design The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
Encouraged by Hokusai’s success, Hiroshige developed his own landscape series including The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road which portrayed views along the route between the cities of Kyoto and Edo (today’s Tokyo). Engaging scenes from this and other series will be included in the display.
The exhibit will highlight the ways in which both artists use innovative perspectives, changes in light and weather as well as human figures to involve viewers in the scenes.
Included in the display will be a set of prints showing the process of colour printing one of Hiroshige’s prints Shono – Sudden Rain from The Fifty-three stations on the Tokaido, newly commissioned from a traditional woodblock print workshop in Tokyo with funding from the Friends of Bristol Art Gallery.
This is the first of three exhibitions showcasing our Japanese print collection.
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery would like to thank exhibition sponsors Inside Japan.
- Any age
No admission fee – donations welcome
Clowns: The eggs-hibition
- 29 September 2018 — 6 January 2019
Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!
Tumble into the wonderful world of clowning, explore what makes a great clown and step into their gigantic shoes.
Discover the origins of clowning and unveil the personal, hilarious and often bizarre stories of the people beneath the colourful exterior.
To celebrate 250 years of circus, we’ve created an exhibition of stunning costume, fascinating archives and intriguing clown eggs, thanks to Clowns International and the London Clown Gallery-Museum.
Clowns International has been painting the faces of its members on eggs for over 70 years. Each one is a record of a clown’s unique identity, preserving the unwritten rule that no clown should copy another’s look.
Enter a surreal and interactive realm of light, colour, mirrors and clown cars – a place to try out circus skills and clown-around in costume.
This exhibition is part of Circus 250 – a national celebration of 250 years of circus in 2018.
- Any age
Pay what you think
Museums at Night: Circus Spectacular
- 25 October 2018 7:30-9:30pm
Prepare to be amazed by acrobatics and circus performers as they take over the museum’s grand halls.
Dress up and entertain your family and friends in our themed photo booth. Run away with the circus by having a go at juggling, tightrope walking, hoops and more.
Marvel at ‘Clowns: The Eggs-hibition’, which features stunning costume, film and photos of clowning over the years, and of course, hundreds of clown eggs! Each one is a record of a clown’s unique identity, preserving the unwritten rule that no clown should copy another’s look.
Café and shop open throughout the night. Perfect for the whole family.
Developed in association with Circomedia, renowned centre for contemporary circus and physical theatre training in the UK.
- Family friendly
Admission free but donations welcome
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
City of Bristol
0117 922 3571