Blog / Collections

Covid collecting

by Amber Druce, Curator of History In March 2020, we did a call out for objects, stories and photos of Bristol’s response to Coronavirus. We had plenty of feedback, especially at the start, and the insights were really useful. Since then, I’ve also app…

A potted history of soap making in Bristol – until 1954

By Lee Hutchinson, curator of history Bristol has laid claim to several firsts in English history. One of those is soap manufacturing. In the 1815 edition of the Bristol Guide, the author echoed the belief that “the first manufacture of Soap in Eng…

Collecting to represent the Climate Movement

by Lee Hutchinson, curator of history Bristol has been the scene of numerous climate protests in recent years. They have become a part of the ongoing Bristol story. Two groups, in particular – Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Youth Strike 4 Climate (YS4…

Conserving M Shed’s cargo cranes

by Andy King, senior curator of history We are launching a public fundraising appeal to support the conservation of the four cargo cranes outside M Shed. Unfortunately time is taking its toll and they are showing significant signs of deterioration. The…

Protest and survive: New acquisitions by Joy Gerrard and Barbara Walker

by Julia Carver, Modern and Contemporary Art curator Three new works of art acquired by Bristol Museum & Art Gallery strike a chord with recent events. Joy Gerrard Joy Gerrard has been making images of mass protests since the massive anti-Iraq War d…

The story of a stinky city: How improved sanitation transformed Bristol

by Lee Hutchinson, curator of history When it came to the removal of human waste, for centuries Bristolians relied on the natural ebb and flow of tidal rivers. During medieval times, underground water channels were built to drain sewage and rainwater f…

10 netsuke from Bristol’s collection

by Amy Raphael, volunteer Did you know that Bristol Museum & Art Gallery has 300 Japanese carvings known as netsuke and okimono? Netsuke were Japan’s solution to a lack of pockets in men’s kimono and other clothing. During the Edo Period (1…

Caring for our collections during lockdown

by Fran Coles, Conservation and Documentation Manager Although we’re currently closed, our museum collections still need looking after. Maintenance of our buildings is essential work and a skeleton crew of staff are carrying out a variety of essent…

How can 200 year old paintings get us talking about climate change?

by Jenny Gaschke, curator of Fine Art The coronavirus pandemic has triggered an unexpected improvement in UK air quality as daily carbon emissions have fallen. We can feel the difference in Bristol too. A month before the UK lockdown began, climate …