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

Tuesday - Sunday: 10am - 5pm
Plus Mondays during Bristol school holidays and Bank Holiday Mondays: 10am - 5pm

Admission charges

No admission fee - donations welcome

Discounts

  • National Art Pass

Additional info

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.

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.
One of the selectors holding his chosen image for the Empire Through the Lens exhibition

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.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

No admission fee – donations welcome.

Website

https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery/whats-on/empire-through-lens/

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.
Poster of man, holding his selected image for Empire through the lens exhibition, surrounded by reels of film

Empire on film

  • 7 February 2018 6-8pm

This mix of home movies and industrial and educational films has been chosen from 2,000 films in the British Empire & Commonwealth Collection. Selected and introduced by Ingrid Sinclair of Afrika Eye Film Festival, and with live musical accompaniment from Stephen Horne, this is a rare chance to see the films on a big screen.

Much of the film was taken by amateur filmmakers – largely British colonial workers and their families – and covers a vast range of topics from industry to private parties, local life to ceremonial occasions, and indications of the darker side Empire.

The clips will not be confirmed ahead of the evening, but may include colourful scenes from the Seychelles in the 1950s, biplanes in action in India, SEATO manoeuvres in North Borneo or a river journey in the Gambia.

The British Empire & Commonwealth Collection is a great springboard for exploring the complicated legacy of the British Empire and how it still plays out in the lives of people around the planet today.

Included in the ticket price is an introduction to the Empire through the Lens exhibition from curator Sue Giles. Drinks available at the pop-up bar.

Please note: the nature of the original footage means that some clips are of lesser quality than modern film.

Explore the British Empire & Commonwealth Collection online.

Or make an appointment to visit Bristol Archives to see more images and films.

Ticket offer for students and 16-25s
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery has teamed up with Film Hub to offer a special concession for this event for students and anyone aged 25 or younger. A number of tickets are available for the amazing price of £3. For less than the price of a pint, you can discover a great resource on your doorstep here in Bristol.

A must for students of film, visual culture, history, anthropology, post-colonial studies, global politics and anyone with an interest in our diverse communities and their heritage.

So much about how the world is now stems from the actions of European powers in the 20th century, and the British Empire was the largest on earth at the time. The British Empire & Commonwealth Collection is a great springboard for exploring this complicated legacy and how it still plays out in the lives of people around the planet today.

Buy your ticket online and bring ID on the evening to validate your £3 ticket. If you can’t make it, you can join the conversation online during the evening @bristolmuseum #EmpireOnFilm

Supported by Film Hub South West & West Midlands, part of the BFI Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery.

Admission

Tickets:
£10 adult
£8 concession
£3 student

Book in advance

Website

https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery/whats-on/empire-on-film/

Man crouching inside the caves of Mona.

Winter lecture: Desert island discoveries

  • 8 February 2018 7:30-9pm

Recent research on the uninhabited island of Mona in the Caribbean has revealed intriguing new insights into the first encounters between Europeans and the Indigenous peoples of the Americas in 15th and 16th centuries.

This talk will reveal how these exciting discoveries were made and consider how they transform our understanding of this turning point in world history.

Speaker: Dr Jago Cooper, British Museum

Please note, the winter lectures take place at Priory Road Lecture Theatre. Parking can be difficult so please arrive an extra 15 minutes to allow plenty of time.

Where

Priory Road Lecture Theatre, University of Bristol,
8 Woodland Road,
Bristol
BS8 1TN

Admission

All talks are free and open to all, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives.

We recommend that tickets are booked in advance but access on the night at the door may also be possible.

Website

https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery/whats-on/winter-lecture-desert-island-discoveries/

Close up image of an orange and yellow Chinese dragon

Chinese New Year: Dog

  • 17 — 18 February 2018 11am-4pm

Welcome in the Year of the Dog with spectacular traditional and contemporary performances, stalls, workshops and activities.

Stalls throughout the museum will feature elements of Chinese culture, there will be a delicious Chinese inspired menu in the café and beautiful Chinese goods for sale in the shop.

The Year of the Dog starts on 16 February and ends on 4 February 2019.

According to the Chinese Zodiac people born in a year of the Dog are honest, loyal, friendly, kind, cautious and prudent. People born in this year have green, red and purple as their lucky colours.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery would like to thank event sponsors: Kumon and University of Bristol.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

No admission fee – donations welcome.
Drop in.
Some activities are pay what you think.

Website

https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery/whats-on/chinese-new-year-dog/

Image of a Mycenae stirrup jar, decorated with dark and light brown stripes

Lunchtime talk: The Mycenae stirrup jar

  • 1 March 2018 1:15-1:45pm

In the Aegean, one of the mainstays of the late Bronze-Age economy was quality (surely, extra-extra virgin!) olive oil.

It was traded in bulk in tin cans. Much as we do today, it was traded – perfumed and perhaps coloured – before being sold as a luxury good in fancy glass bottles.

The Aegean people developed a special clay vase to do these duties – the stirrup jar.

This talk will look at the manufacture, decoration, history and trade-patterns of the stirrup jar and the perfume industry.

Designed to fit around your lunch hour, our lunchtime talks explore a selection of treasures from our exhibitions and collections.

Admission

No admission fee – donations welcome.
Drop in.

Website

https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery/whats-on/lunchtime-talk-mycenae-stirrup-jars/

Five men look over an African landscape.

Questioning reflections of Empire

  • 3 March 2018 11am-4pm

Dr Shawn Sobers, Associate Professor of Lens-based Media at UWE, brings together a panel of speakers and artists to discuss and respond creatively to the question of how the British Empire and its legacy are represented in photo and film.

Suitable for anyone with an interest in striking images, post-colonial studies, or our social history.

Empire Through the Lens
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.



Part of BBC Civilisations Festival. In partnership with UWE.

Admission

Pay what you think.
Book in advance.

Website

https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery/whats-on/questioning-reflections-empire/

Image of a women in the sea holding onto a plant

Winter lecture: Native American photographers

  • 8 March 2018 7:30-9pm

Popular historical depictions by early colonial photographers have fixed in time ideas about Native American life.

In this talk we will see how Native American photographers, from Horace Poolaw in the 1920’s to contemporary fine artists such as Cara Romero, break free from romanticised and colonial stereotyping.

They create modern narratives from within tribal communities, where native people hold the cameras and present themselves as empowered, complex and contemporary individuals.

Speaker: Joanne Prince, Rainmaker Gallery

Please note, the winter lectures take place at Priory Road Lecture Theatre. Parking can be difficult so please arrive an extra 15 minutes to allow plenty of time.

Admission

All talks are free and open to all, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives.

We recommend that tickets are booked in advance but access on the night at the door may also be possible.

Website

https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery/whats-on/winter-lecture-native-american-photographers/

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Queens Road
Bristol
City of Bristol
BS8 1RL
England

Website

www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery/

E-mail

bristolmuseums@bristol.gov.uk

Telephone

0117 922 3571

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.
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