Coming up in 2019

Posted on by Lauren MacCarthy.

Happy New Year from everyone at Bristol Museums!

Did you know? Visiting a museum reduces anxiety, reduces stress, makes you less lonely and has a greater impact on your wellbeing than playing a sport. Plus it’s warm and dry inside!

Have a look at what’s coming up over the next year and start planning your next museum trip!

Don’t forget, if you’re a full time student or 16 – 25 years old, you get free entry to all our paid exhibitions every Wednesday. Plus 20% off books in the shop and £2 teas/coffees in the cafe.


Exhibition highlights 2019

Masters of Japanese Prints: Life in the City
12 January – 12 May
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

A Party in the Yoshiwara by Isoda KoryusaiFeaturing original woodblock prints from our collection, this exhibition explores the sophisticated urban culture of Japan in the 18th and 19th centuries, from fashion and day trips to geisha and the kabuki theatre.

The rare and colourful prints in our collection, specially conserved and mounted for the exhibition, allow us glimpses into Japanese urban life, both elegant and earthy, over 250 years ago.

Find out more about Masters of Japanese Prints: Life in the City


Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing
1 February – 6 May
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

To mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, we will be displaying twelve of his finest drawings as part of #Leonardo500 – a national celebration of one of history’s greatest geniuses.

The drawings are from the Royal Collection which contains the world’s finest collection of Leonardo’s works. These drawings are among the most diverse and technically accomplished in the entire history of art.

Find out more about Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing


Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed
The top of a woman's leg with a tattoo of a ship with the caption 'not just for sailors'16 March – 16 June
M Shed

It is estimated that about one in five of the UK population is tattooed and this figure rises to one in three for young adults. From ruffians to royalty; from sailors to socialites; from pilgrims to punks: tattoos have been etched into bodies throughout British history.

This exhibition is a ground-breaking and comprehensive history of British tattooing, featuring cutting edge designers, leading academics and major private collectors to tell a story that challenges long-standing myths and pre-conceptions.

Find out more about Tattoo.


Masters of Japanese Prints: Nature and seasons
18 May – 8 September 2019
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery has a collection of some 500 ‘floating world pictures’ (ukiyo-e) which celebrate the pleasures of life in Japan. Our collection ranks in the top five regional UK collections.

This is the third and final exhibition in our Masters of Japanese Prints series and will feature the iconic Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Hokusai.

Find out more about Masters of Japanese Prints: Nature and seasons


Natural Selection
A hand holding a speckled bird's egg1 June – 15 September 2019
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Father and son Andy Holden and Peter Holden take us on an ornithological journey: from the building of nests to the collecting of eggs. Natural Selection showcases several multi-screen films, a selection of archival material, and Andy Holden’s own collection of found nests.

‘A Natural History of Nest Building’ exposes the unscrupulous cuckoo; the artistry of the bowerbird; and the nest as an object in its own right. While ‘A Social History of Egg Collecting’ sheds light on this practice in a changing legal landscape, and the resultant criminal operations after 1954.

Find out more about Natural Selection.


On Set with Aardman: Making Early Man
6 July – 29 September 2019
M Shed

Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Aardman’s Early Man told the story of plucky caveman Dug who, along with his sidekick Hognob, unites his tribe against the mighty Bronze Age in a battle to beat them at their own game – football.

The exhibition, developed in partnership with Aardman, will showcase the incredible creative skills of the Bristol-based team who made the film: from drawings which create an imaginary world and extraordinarily crafted sets to tiny exquisite character models and the latest VR technology.

Find out more about On Set with Aardman: Making Early Man


A painting called The Palm Foretells’ by William Roberts, 1937. It depicts five people reading each other's palms19 October 2019 – 19 April 2020
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Magic is a fundamental part of the human experience which crosses time and cultures. This exhibition will explore people’s personal responses to magic, revealing the power of magic in everyday life and challenging people’s perceptions of worlds beyond our own.

Moving away from the idea of magic being based on illusions, you will travel to other worlds to explore the ways magic can be perceived – from communion with the gods; to the healing of cunning folk; to the power of the charm to protect from harm.

Find out more about Magic


Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019
19 October 2019 – 19 April 2020
M Shed

The renowned wildlife photography competition from the Natural History Museum returns with 100 spectacular images. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the most prestigious photography event of its kind, providing a global platform that showcases the natural world’s most astonishing and challenging sights.


Idiomorphic Beast by Lynn Chadwick

Modern Sculpture: Being Human
25 October 2019 – 3 January 2021
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery    

This stunning exhibition showcases our own collection of informative, dramatic and thought provoking modern sculptures, including work by well-known and high profile names like Lynn Chadwick, Bernard Meadows, Reg Butler, Ken Armitage and Elisabeth Frink.

The exhibition will explore sculpture’s enduring interest in the human figure.


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