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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.


200 years of amazing collections and stories

By Deborah Hutchinson (Geology Curator) and Kate Iles (Archaeology Curator)

The Arts, Sciences and Literature being introduced to the City of Bristol

Bristol Museums’ fo…


Women’s work: Making discoveries in the Australian collection

By Polly Bence, University of Bristol, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

My research focuses on cultural objects from Oceania – an understudied part of the collection at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. Earlier in 2022 I undertook a four m…


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 Engla…


Hinamatsuri: A closer look at the Japanese dolls in our collection

by Amy Raphael, volunteer

Since November 2019, I have been work-shadowing Kate Newnham (senior curator, visual art) at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. Before lockdown, I was working with Kate to curate a small exhibition of Japanese hina dolls for …


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…


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, cl…


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 …


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.