Stay connected while the museums and archives are closed

Posted on by Lauren MacCarthy.

In line with Government guidance, M Shed, Bristol Archives and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery are closed to support the fight against COVID-19. We will review our reopening plans in February.

We’re really looking forward to welcoming you back. In the meantime, there’s a few different ways to experience the museums and archives at home.

From online talks to study days and exhibitions – we hope to inspire you and brighten up the winter months with fun activities and amazing collections.

Free online talks

Our online events are proving very popular with audiences from both home and abroad. Take a look at what’s coming up next:

Stay up to date with our blog

Our blog is the best place to find out about our latest news – such as our first steps towards decolonisation.

Uncover Bristol’s stories

Explore stories about Bristol and the world through the city’s objects, art and people. There’s plenty to get stuck into – from Banksy to Bristol’s Black History. Have a read of some of Bristol’s stories.

Enjoy online exhibitions

You can experience some of our most recent exhibitions from the comfort of your own sofa – from beautiful Japanese Prints to Bristol’s amazing music heritage.

Our most recent addition is 21st Century Kids – an exploration of what it’s like to be young in Bristol today. Take a look at our online exhibitions.

Shop online

In need of ideas for Christmas? We sell lots of lovely things that you can’t buy anywhere else, inspired by our world class collections, exhibitions and the incredible city we’re in.

We’re still fulfilling online orders while adhering to strict social distancing guidelines. Browse the online shop for museum goodies and souvenirs.

Exploring our collections

Our first collections were brought together more than 200 years ago and we’ve been adding to them ever since. From art to archaeology, history to industry, the natural and the wider world, they are amongst the UK’s finest with many recognised as nationally and internationally important. You can search our collections online.

If you’re particularly interested in art then check out Art UK. It’s the online home for every public art collection in the UK, including ours.

Accessing Bristol’s archives

Bristol Archives holds almost two million documents which record the history of the city and the surrounding area from the 12th century to the present day. These include minutes, accounts, letters, diaries, maps, photographs and films created by many types of organisations and people.

  • Access maps and images from our collections on the Know Your Place website.
  • View thousands of images in photographic collections on our online catalogue.
  • Access records of Bristol births, marriages and deaths from Anglican and non-conformist / Catholic parish registers (paid subscription needed)

If you’d like to get in touch, we are still taking email enquiries and sharing material from the collections on Twitter and Facebook.

Highlights from the British Empire & Commonwealth Collection

In 2012, the collections of the former British Empire and Commonwealth Museum were transferred to the care of Bristol Museums. Since then, we’ve been working to photograph and digitise some of the vast collection.

Take a look at some of the latest projects we’ve been working on and some of the stories we’ve been able to document through the blog. You can also now browse the collection with our new online catalogue.

Share your wildlife sightings

Have you noticed more wildlife in your area? BRERC collects, manages and distributes biodiversity data for the west of England. You can submit your own wildlife sightings through their website and find out about the species in your area. It’s super easy and you don’t have to be an expert at all!


Your donations make a difference

We rely on ticket sales, venue hire and purchases in our shop and cafe for 41% of our income. None of this is possible while our doors are closed due to Covid-19. That’s why donations to our charity, Bristol Museums Development Trust, are more important than ever.

Please consider making a donation today. As always, thank you for your support.

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