Bristol’s museums and archives prepare to reopen: Boxkite in Bristol Museum & Art Gallery © Bristol Culture

14 May 2021

Bristol’s museums and archives prepare to reopen

Visitors will be welcomed back to Bristol Archives, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and M Shed in the next weeks as the venues prepare to open to the public in line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Bristol Archives will open its doors from Monday, 17 May followed by Bristol Museum & Art Gallery on Tuesday, 18 May. M Shed will open on Friday, 28 May.

Each venue will have measures in place to keep visitors safe, having undergone thorough risk assessments, while both museums will be opening with a brand-new programme of exhibitions and displays.

Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor of Bristol, said:
“I’m delighted to see the museums and archives reopen so visitors can experience our fantastic spaces and collections once again. It’s especially exciting to open with an incredibly varied line-up of exhibitions. Although the doors have been closed, the team has been kept very busy caring for the collections and making them available online during lockdown. After an extremely challenging year, I’m looking forward to seeing people enjoy Bristol’s great cultural venues again.”

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery will be opening with four compelling and thought-provoking exhibitions as part of the inaugural, city-wide Bristol Photo Festival. Work by a host of local, national, and international photographers will be showcased in response to the festival’s theme of ‘A Sense of Place’.

The museum will also display a selection of delicately carved miniature sculptures from Japan called netsuke for the first time.

During lockdown, the museum team conserved over 60 paintings in the collection for an exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bristol’s twin city of Bordeaux. The pictures are being loaned alongside key works from Tate and the Louvre. While they are on loan, the gallery at Bristol Museum will feature new works by Art on Referral groups which support positive mental wellbeing through art.

M Shed will host the much-anticipated Vanguard: Bristol Street Art – The evolution of a global movement exhibition. Opening on 26 June, the show explores the instrumental role that Bristol artists played in the development of British Street Art from the 1980s to the present day. Featuring seminal works, notable moments, and extraordinary artists; this exhibition brings together one of the largest collections of original works and memorabilia ever seen in the UK.

Museum and archives visits can be pre-booked at