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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.


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.


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…


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 period when the city’s merchants began trading enslaved African people overseas in 1698. However, records at Bristol Archives and elsewhere show that Black people lived and worked here least a century before then.


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.


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…