M Shed

M Shed from prince Street Bridge
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M Shed is an exciting and innovative new museum for Bristol that tells the story of our city.
Located on the historic dockside, Bristol’s flagship museum has been designed to retain the character of the former 1950s transit shed.

Three galleries reveal the fascinating story of the city and its unique place in the world. From prehistoric times to the present day, explore the history of Bristol through the objects and stories of the people who have made the city what it is today.

See amazing film and photographs, listen to moving personal stories, encounter rare and quirky objects and add your own memories of the city through the many interactive displays.

M Shed is a living museum, where stories of the past will spark discussions about the future- where YOU can contribute to the changing story of the city.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm [closed Mondays]
Weekends and Bank Holiday Mondays 10am-6pm

Admission charges


When this museum opens, part of Bristol Museums’ Designated Collections related to Bristol’s role as a manufacturing city and major seaport will be on display here.

Other parts of these collections can be seen at Bristol’s City Museum & Art Gallery, Georgian House, Red Lodge, and Blaise Castle House Museum. Please contact Bristol Museums for more information if you wish to see a specific item.

The museums were Designated in respect of outstanding collections relating to the City of Bristol, including topographical paintings and prints, maps and archaeological collections. The collections relating to the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries are particularly rich, and reflect the importance of Bristol in those centuries.

Key artists and exhibits

  • Designated Collection
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.
drawing showing stylised outline of a line of people

Symposium: Brave, Poor (and Invisible): The gatekeepers of past and future cities

  • 20 October 2017 9:30am-4pm

If you come to this symposium expecting traditional power-point presentations and panel debates you will be in for a surprise; instead experience creative happenings, visits by robots and an opportunity to be part of a Cultural Animation installation work.

This special all-day event brings together academics and community partners to expose and explore the often absent voices of disabled people in our collective history as well as our future planning. Find out about the process for engaging local people in research for a new exhibition at M-Shed and the crucial role creative interpretation, digital gaming and new technologies play in giving disabled people a voice in reclaiming their history and their future.

During our research to support a new exhibition at MShed ‘Brave Poor Things’ we have discovered how challenging it is to hear the voices of the disabled people as many of the records are written from the perspective of Founders and Trustees. This symposium will show the crucial role creative interpretation has played in giving disabled people a voice in reclaiming this history.

The mission of Ada Vachell, Founder and ‘gatekeeper’ of the Guild of the Brave Poor Things was to ‘save people’, however the boys from the Guild just wanted to enjoy their life like other boys in the city. Could their rather dubious motto ‘Happy In Our Lot’ actually be redefined and reclaimed for the future, to rebel against the continuous drive to ‘cure’ or ‘eradicate’ disability/people?
Learning from the past to imagine future cities

We will explore who has been historically and currently disregarded, left out, or silenced and how can we make sure through our ‘collabatory’ work when thinking about future cities, that these voices are not lost or overlooked in planning and design, or in the way people are valued. We will consider how we can create/make space which connects and is occupied not by the “them and us” but by the ‘we’.
Kidnapped by fortune hunters

Openstorytellers are a company of storytellers who have learning and communication disabilities. They explore stories about characters with disabilities, in history and legend. Their aims are: to reclaim the history of disability in society; to challenge stereotypes (like the “silly” or “village idiot”) and to develop understanding of the links between past and present issues confronting people with disabilities. They will be performing a work in progress which uncovers the defiant voice of Fanny Fust, a young heiress with severe learning disabilities who lived in Bristol in the C18th who was abducted by a fortune hunter, and whose case made legal history in establishing a precedent for the care of vulnerable individuals.
Robotics, utopias and dystopias

We will explore how new technologies can help disabled people to be ‘present’ and ‘visible’ experiencing and interacting with environments they might otherwise not have access to. We will also ask the wider ethical questions as to whether technological progress offers us both a utopian and dystopian future and what are the methods we can adopt to ensure disabled people are the gatekeepers of their own futures?

There will be BSL interpreters and captioning available, the building is wheelchair accessible and there will be guides available for any attendees with a visual impairment. Please get in touch or contact the venue directly if you have any further access requirements or concerns.

Part of the History of Place project, which will also be running exhibitions and displays at the V&A, MShed and the Museum of Liverpool.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17


Free but booking essential - box office opens on September 20th



Scouts at the Guild in the early 20th century

Brave Poor Things: Reclaiming Bristol's Disability History

  • 20 October 2017 — 20 January 2018

For nearly 100 years, the Guild for the Brave Poor Things provided a vital social and educational hub for disabled people in Bristol.

This exhibition tells the story of how founder Ada Vachell, inspired her own lived experience of disability and her passion for philanthropy, created a space where people could learn crucial skills, undertake apprenticeships, socialise and go on holiday together. Pioneering in its outlook, the Guild commissioned a new building in 1913, the first of its kind to take into consideration the needs of those with physical impairments, and which can still be seen today in Old Market.

The exhibition will also use the social and design history of the Guild as a way of looking more widely at disability in Bristol, using primary source material and oral histories.

Part of the History of Place project, which will also be running exhibitions and displays V&A and the Museum of Liverpool as well as at MShed.

Suitable for

  • Any age





M Shed
Wapping Road
City of Bristol






0117 352 6600

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.