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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. They can be seen on display across all our museums, in our stores or on our online collections search.

Here you can find out more about Bristol Museums’ collections – explore stories, read blog posts and see what’s on.

Blog

What could Bristol have to tell me about Kenya?

By Dr Lydia Muthuma, Technical University of Kenya, Nairobi

Lydia Muthuma is one of the Building Shared Futures project team, funded by the University of Bristol to bring together British and Kenyan colleagues with an interest in material relating to …

Blog

Documenting the British Empire and Commonwealth Collection

by Frances Davies, Documentation Assistant

There’s always plenty of behind-the-scenes work happening at the museum. Collections staff are often to be found busy beavering away in stores ensuring our objects are correctly documented and cared for.

Blog

Museum magic: Our mesmerising autumn exhibition

Work is underway to conjure our autumn exhibition, Magic which will be enchanting visitors at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery from October 2019.

Brought to you by the team who curated the hugely successful death: a human experience exhibition, this…

Story

Early Black Presence in Bristol

Black people have lived in Bristol for over four centuries. We don’t know much about Black residents before the city’s merchants began legally trading people as slaves in 1698. However, records at Bristol Archives and elsewhere show that black people lived and worked here least a century before then.

Story

Bristol and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The slave trade was part of the network of trade which existed between Britain, West Africa and the Caribbean. Between 1501 and 1866, over 12 million Africans are estimated to have been exported to the New World, around 2 million of whom probably died en route.

Story

Blood on the Bricks: More than Colston?

Bristol’s involvement in the Transatlantic slave trade and the great wealth acquired from it brings uncomfortable questions about how we deal with our city’s past. Tayo Lewin-Turner explores the stories that lurk behind some of the grand Georgian buildings in Bristol…

Blog

Theatre Royal archives take centre stage with new online catalogue

by Anne Lovejoy, Bristol Old Vic project archivist

The catalogue of archives relating to Bristol’s Theatre Royal (known as Bristol Old Vic today) is now available online on Bristol Archives’ online catalogue.

As you may have read last summ…

Story

Banksy and Bristol Museums

Find out more about Banksy and Bristol Museums – see what’s on display at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and M Shed and read about the 2009 exhibition Banksy versus Bristol Museum.

Blog

Dolls made by a freed (manumitted) woman in Grenada

by Sue Giles, senior curator for World Cultures

In 2012, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and Bristol Archives took on the collections of the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum (BECM). There are some real gems in the collection, and we are s…