Nearly three million people – including the Queen, Princess Anne and inspirational Bristolians such as the late Tony Benn - have visited M Shed since it opened its doors to the public half a decade ago.
This Saturday (18 June) the museum’s contribution to the city is being celebrated for M Shed’s fifth birthday.
Since opening M Shed has hosted a number of highly popular temporary exhibitions including Martin Parr, Wallace and Gromit, Chocolate!, Bristol Urban Sport, Norman Parkinson, Photographic Portrait Prize and more recently, Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Briswool.
The permanent galleries – Bristol Places, Bristol People and Bristol Life – feature amazing exhibits and displays which tell the story of the city and its unique place in the world.
The museum’s most popular exhibits include the green Lodekka bus, Banksy’s Grim Reaper and a book bound in human skin.
M Shed has become a valuable learning resource in the city with more than 75,000 school children visiting the museum to enrich their learning of local history including ships and sailors, the First World War and the transatlantic slave trade.
Like all museums Bristol has much more in its collections than can ever be displayed at any one time. Guided behind the scenes tours of the adjoining L Shed provide visitors with access to the mysterious reserve collections surrounding the city’s industrial and maritime history. Visitors can also explore the collection digitally via M Shed website.
The store tours are brought to life by M Shed’s loyal legion of volunteers who have contributed more than 120,000 hours of time over the last five years, working tirelessly to care for the exhibits including the trains, cranes and boats.
Councillor Estella Tincknell, Deputy Mayor of Bristol with special responsibility for culture, said: “M Shed is the people’s museum – your city, your museum, your stories – which is what makes it so unique.
“It tells the story of Bristol’s suburbs as well as its city centre and contains exhibits which appeal to Bristolians and visitors alike because they tell us about everyday life and experiences.
“Millions of people have visited M Shed since it opened its doors, which, in itself, is testament to the quality and range of exhibits on offer there.
“My congratulations go to everyone who has contributed to the museum’s success. Here’s to the next five years.”
With activities and entertainment for the whole family, live music and cake, M Shed’s fifth birthday party - which takes place from 11am–4pm on Saturday (18 June) -will be one to remember.
Entertainment will include performances from four choirs – Ponita, Gert Lush Choir, Bristol Folk Singers and Bristol Man Chorus – as well as a variety of circus and magic acts including clowns, juggling, a strong woman circus, hula hooping, Pip’s Jukebox and Charlie Jones the magician.
There will also be an opportunity to make party hats with Children’s Scrapstore, take a crane ride and share favourite memories of Bristol from the past five years.
From M Shed’s iconic cranes to its trains and boats, some of the museum’s biggest exhibits are outside and can be seen even when the museum is closed.
More than 11,000 people have travelled in style aboard one of M Shed’s boats, while nearly 470,000 people have taken a train ride and more than 21,000 people have been up in one of the cranes since the start of 2012.
Earlier this year the cranes provided the perfect backdrop for one unique marriage proposal and came to life for a mesmerising night of light and dance in October 2015.
Entry to M Shed is free. For more information visit bristolmuseums.org.uk.
Notes to editor:
Opening hours and contact information
M Shed: Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol BS1 4RN
Open Tue – Fri 10am-5pm | Sat and Sun 10am-6pm
Closed Mondays (except bank holidays and summer school holidays)
T: 0117 352 6600 W: bristolmuseums.org.uk