Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Exterior of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

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.

Erdkunde: The Study of the Earth

  • 19 September 2015 — 3 January 2016 *on now

Artists John Wood and Paul Harrison present Erdkunde: The Study of the Earth, a new video work inspired by the museum’s geology collections.

A lecture, a presentation, a demonstration
A collection, a catalogue, a display
Of information, notes, sketches, photographs, thoughts, ideas
Letters, numbers and symbols
Boxes, slides and diagrams
Looking at things, finding things, talking about things, making up things
– John Wood and Paul Harrison

Suitable for

  • Any age


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

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+


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.

Looking at Things, Making Things Up

  • 28 November 2015 2-3:30pm

Join the artists John Wood and Paul Harrison as they discuss their commission Erdkunde: The Study of the Earth, a new video work inspired by the museum’s geology collections.

Panel discussion with geology curator Deborah Hutchinson, historian Steve Poole and artist Dr Iain Biggs to discuss and debate the relationships and connections between contemporary art and geology.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+


Winter Lecture: William Smith’s Search for a Money-Earning Career

  • 3 December 2015 7:30-9pm

2015 marks the 200th anniversary of William Smith’s ‘great geological map’, a pivotal moment for the then new science of geology and one which led to Smith being eventually known as ‘the Father of English Geology’.

Smith expert Professor Hugh Torrens will explore for the first time his early career which included a spell in a debtors’ prison before he became the engineer on the Somerset Coal Canal.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+


A Potter’s Pint

  • 3 December 2015 1:15-1:45pm

Join curator Helen Brown for A Potter’s Pint. From making and drinking, discover the story of innovation and creativity in Bristol’s potteries of the 18th century through this newly acquired collection of local pub wares.

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

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+


Christmas Fair

  • 6 December 2015 11am-4:30pm

Get in the festive spirit with gift stands, crafts and carols!

Browse stalls selling jewellery, textiles, glass gifts, preserves and homemade cakes while children can have a go at mosaic-making.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Winter Lecture: New Dinosaur Discoveries

  • 7 January 2016 7:30-9pm

New and astounding dinosaur fossils continue to be discovered across the globe, shedding ever more light on what dinosaurs were and how they lived.

Ben Garrod will discuss some of these new findings about animals which were dominant on land for about 135 million years from the Triassic, through the Jurassic and into the Cretaceous geological periods.

He will talk in particular about a recent titanosaur discovery that he’s been following as part of a BBC 1 programme. This has included him helping 3D scan the largest thigh bone he’s ever seen.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+


Winter Lecture: Life on the Edge

  • 4 February 2016 7:30-9pm

Explorer Benedict Allen, famous for not using a GPS, satellite phone or backup, shares some highlights from an extraordinary life as an adventurer.

From undergoing an initiation ceremony to make him a man ‘as strong as a crocodile’, to being shot at by drug barons while crossing the Amazon Basin with the help of the Matses “Jaguar” people – Benedict Allen’s stories will show his fascinating life on the edge.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+


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.