Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Exterior of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
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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.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

Open Monday -Friday, 10am-5pm
Weekends 10am-6pm

Admission charges

Admission free

Additional info

For a reminder of your visit, the Museum shop contains award-winning merchandise, including reproduction prints from the Art Gallery's 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 web page.

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.

Collection details

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
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
death: the human experience

death: the human experience

  • 24 October 2015 — 13 March 2016 *on now

'death: the human experience' will feature over 200 amazing items dedicated to showing how human beings have approached death and dying around the world and across time.

From the Mexican Day of the Dead and Victorian mourning rituals, to mummification practices and fantasy coffins, the incredibly diverse exhibition will reveal captivating stories behind the most universal of experiences.

'death: the human experience' asks visitors to consider the science, ethics, attitudes and process of death, as well as the variety of ways human remains are used and the importance of end-of-life choices in contemporary society.

Spectacular artefacts have been meticulously selected from the museum’s collections and include mummified body parts, coffins from around the world, Japanese watercolours, mourning clothes, grave goods and much more. They show how death has been treated from the earliest human civilisations to modern day societies and pose questions including, when is death; what happens to us after we die; and what symbols we use to understand death.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • 11-13
  • 16-17
  • 14-15
  • 18+


Pay what you think.
You have the choice to pay what you think the exhibition is worth to you.


death: is it your right to choose?

  • 23 January — 13 March 2016 *on now

death: is it your right to choose? will be a powerful and emotive installation of a room at the Dignitas flat near Zurich.

Supported through funding from The Wellcome Trust, this exhibition complements death: the human experience and will encourage debate and discussion around end of life choices whilst the current law on assisted dying in the UK is undergoing scrutiny.

The exhibition will be supported by a series of events starting on 26 January with a panel debate on assisted dying with Silvan Luley from Dignitas and other leading experts from the UK.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+


Art From Elsewhere

Art From Elsewhere

  • 22 April — 17 July 2016

The cutting edge work – from video and installation, to photography and sculpture – is predominantly by artists from Africa, Asia and the Far East who explore themes such as life in conflict zones and migration.

This exhibition, shown jointly with Arnolfini, brings together work recently collected by museums and galleries across the UK purchased with five £1 million awards from Art Fund International. Find out more about ‘Art From Elsewhere’ on the Art Fund website.

The exhibition is curated by David Elliott. David has directed major international art institutions and festivals all over the world including Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, and Istanbul Modern, as well Modern Art Oxford which he led for two decades.

He has also curated festivals including Kiev Biennale and the 17th Biennale of Sydney.

Art From Elsewhere is a Hayward Touring exhibition supported by the Art Fund. The exhibition takes place at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and Arnolfini.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Free - donations welcome


Rembrandt, Self Portrait at the Age of 63, The National Gallery, London

Rembrandt's Self Portrait at the Age of 63

  • 21 May — 17 July 2016

For eight weeks, his masterpiece will form the focal point of our European Old Masters Gallery following its significant refurbishment and the redisplay of our own prestigious works by Lukas Cranach, Giovanni Bellini, Jacob van Ruisdael and others.

Rembrandt painted and etched self-portraits throughout his life but those executed in his final years are among his most poignant and challenging.

Part of the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour 2016.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Free - donations welcome


Gold seax hilt with zoomorphic interlace worked in garnets

Warrior Treasures: Saxon Gold from the Staffordshire Hoard

  • 26 October 2016 — 23 April 2017

Warrior Treasures is a dazzling collection of gold ornaments studded with blood-red garnets that reveal how an Anglo-Saxon sword was more than just a weapon. It signified a warrior’s status, wealth, family and even religious beliefs.

The ornaments are part of the Staffordshire Hoard, which is made up of around 4,000 fragments of gold, silver and semiprecious gems that were stripped from swords and seaxes (single-edged knives). It was unearthed in July 2009 and is the largest Anglo-Saxon hoard ever found.

The hoard reveals breath-taking workmanship and sophisticated designs which have challenged our preconceptions of art in the late 600’s AD.

Through the research on the Hoard it has shed light on the ‘Dark Ages’ and brings to life the Old English poem Beowulf, in which great kings with hoards of gold bestow precious gifts upon loyal heroes.

The secrets of the hoard are still being uncovered through painstaking research and on-going conservation.

The treasure is owned by Birmingham City Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council and cared for on their behalf by Birmingham Museums Trust and The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Adult – £5
Concession* – £4
Under 16s – Free.

Groups: 1 in 10 go free. Groups are requested to book their visits:

Concessions are available with proof of identity for students, people over 60, ES40 holders, disabled people (carers free) and Friends of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Winter Lecture: Spectacular Dead Taxidermy

  • 3 March 2016 7:30-9pm

Dr John Troyer from the University of Bath explores how nineteenth century preservation technologies radically changed and mechanically altered the dead animal body as well as the human corpse, producing new kinds of taxidermy.

These technologies of preservation effectively invented modern taxidermy
transforming the dead animal into something new: energetically alive, always in nature, and uncannily human.

Innovative taxidermy was also used by museums to turn preserved dead animals into a dead body that was atemporal and a well-suited subject for public display.

Taxidermy can make any dead animal do the most amazing things – especially since the animals are dead and unable to resist human posing.

Most importantly, taxidermy says far more about the human desire to anthropomorphise our animal cousins than most people realise.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+


Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Queen's Road
City of Bristol



General enquiries


0117 922 3571


0117 922 2047

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.