Exploring Bristol’s museums

Posted on by Lauren MacCarthy.

by Amber Druce, Curator of History

Here at Bristol Museums, we look after M Shed, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol Archives, Blaise Museum, Georgian House, Red Lodge, and Kings Weston Roman Villa.

Obviously we want you to visit all our sites, but don’t stop there – there’s lots of other local museums and historic displays well worth visiting too (not to mention all the amazing art galleries in the city, which is a whole other story!)

As today is International Museum Day, we wanted to highlight some of the brilliant museums in Bristol.


Most people probably know about SS Great Britain, but did you know you can visit the Brunel Institute for free? Meet their brilliant volunteers and see what their archive of the day is, or search their passenger lists to see if anyone with your family name ever took a trip on SS Great Britain.

A display on slavery in Bristol at the New Room Museum

The New Room

The New Room Museum and the oldest Methodist chapel in the world are right in the centre of Broadmead. The museum tells the story of Methodism in the 1700s, and highlights local history and social justice issues. The display about slavery abolition is particularly powerful. They also run Charles Wesley’s house, just off Stokes Croft.

The George Müller Museum is based in a Victorian orphanage – one of the big grey buildings in Ashley Down. George Müller is credited with the care and education of over 10,000 orphaned children in Victorian Bristol.

Two paintings of women leaning against a wall inside the Palestine Museum, Bristol

Palestine Museum Cultural Centre

Palestine Museum Cultural Centre highlights Palestinian heritage, culture and daily life. They also sell Palestinian fair trade products.

Underfall Yard Visitor Centre houses a Human Accumulator… if you’re not sure what that is, pop in and find out!

Bristol Central Library uses historic material from the Reference Library for displays, and also hosts displays from external organisations.

Bristol Old Vic has some great interactives and creative displays around their building. There’s an exhibition space in the pit, and sound technology interactives, displays and a Thunder Run on Level Four.


Arnos Vale Cemetery has historic displays in the West Lodge (by the entrance) and the Spielman Crypt (below the café). These include a cremulator and a catafalque coffin lift. Their events programme includes trails, tours, and talks.

Kingswood Museum explores the local history and industries of Kingswood. It also has an ice house, a windmill tower and grottoes.


A collection of historical washing products on display at Oakham Treasures

Oakham Treasures

Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre offers an insight into the design, construction and history of the bridge. You could combine a visit with a trip to the caves and observatory.

Oakham Treasures is a privately owned museum highlighting retail and farming history. There’s some really lovely nostalgic displays, including shop adverts and packaging, and a huge collection of vintage tractors.

University of Bristol Theatre Collection cares for theatre and live art collections. These include costume and set designs, theatre archives, and the work of controversial artist Franko B.


Glenside Museum in Stapleton aims to inform, educate and de-stigmatise mental illness and learning difficulties. It shines a light on the life of patients and staff in the former Glenside Hospital.

At Aerospace you can step aboard Concorde and explore the history of aviation.


You can support your local museums by visiting them, attending their events (online and in person), spending money in their shop or café, volunteering, offering relevant objects and stories, and sharing brilliant feedback about them.

Have fun exploring, and let us know your favourites in the comments below.

One comment on Exploring Bristol’s museums

  1. Carol

    Really want to revisit Bristol and explore some of these after reading this!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.