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

Monday - Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturday & Sunday: 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.
Mohamed Bourouissa, Le Reflet, 2007, Courtesy of kamel mennour, Paris

Art From Elsewhere

  • 22 April — 17 July 2016 *on now

This spring, Arnolfini and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery are collaborating to present a compelling exhibition of video, installation, photography and painting across two sites in central Bristol.

Art from Elsewhere gathers 38 artists from 22 countries, whose work addresses life, politics and identity in a globalised society. The exhibition includes some of the most important artists working today, seminal figures in the history of conceptual art, and young artists whose work enters British museums for the first time.

The culmination of a national tour, this specially-conceived and ambitious presentation for Bristol reflects the city’s historic significance as a port, our diverse cultures, and our place within a rapidly-changing world.

Art from Elsewhere was born from a 2007 scheme, Art Fund International, which awarded a total of five million pounds to museums in five regions to develop new collections of international contemporary art. The successful museums were Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery with The New Art Gallery Walsall, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and Towner, Eastbourne.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery collaborated with Arnolfini to acquire 41 works of groundbreaking international contemporary art by ten female and nine male artists.

Curated by David Elliott, this Hayward Touring exhibition, supported by the Art Fund, is a selection of work from all five collections.

Bani Abidi, Shirin Aliabadi, Carl Andre, Stephen Antonakos, Yto Barrada, Yael Bartana, Lothar Baumgarten, Mohamed Bourouissa, Robert Breer, Paulo Bruscky, Nathan Carter, Thomas Demand, Eugenio Dittborn, Cao Fei, Meschac Gaba, Shilpa Gupta, Jenny Holzer, Peter Hujar, Emily Jacir, Jitish Kallat, Amar Kanwar, Ola Kolehmainen, Barbara Kruger, Glenn Ligon, Ana Mendieta, Adrian Piper, Imran Qureshi, Rashid Rana, Józef Robakowski, Shahzia Sikander, Robert Smithson, Nancy Spero, Beat Streuli, Kara Walker, Ai Weiwei, Yeesookyung, Akram Zaatari and Horacio Zabala.

Art from Elsewhere is an exhibition across two sites. Find out which artists are being exhibited at each venue by visiting the Arnolfini and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery websites.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Pay what you think


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 *on now

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.


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




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.