Banksy v Bristol Museum

Last weekend, Zoe & James and Helen & Dave came to Bristol to see me, and to go to the Banksy v Bristol Museum exhibit thats been causing massive crowds and queues along Queens Road for a few weeks now. My friends Eman and Rachael joined us, and we joined the massive queue – at 10am, the queue was at the point of an estimated three hour wait. Oh dear! Of course, this being the first weekend of August, it rained, which made queueing just that little bit more fun (um…no). We were in the main queue for about two hours (going up a hill. stopping. going down a hill. stopping. Repeat a LOT. My legs were in agony for days!) then we finally reached the front, where we went to a shorter queue for about half an hour.

Everyone was so excited once we made it into the acutal museum, but we stepped into the main hall and stopped. People infront of us were shuffling along, and it felt like we were back to queueing again! We decided to go into the Natural History exhibit, which is on the left as you walk in through the doors. Someone said that there was a hidden exhibit in there, so we had to look, didn’t we? We found this little guy hiding out with the swans.

On a day trip I think?

This turned into a bit of a treasure hunt, we were trying to find all the of “hidden” exhibits. I think my favourite was the beaver who won a fishing award!

Yay! He won!

While we were queueing for the museum, I was surprised at the amount of people who had brought their SLR’s, and was sure they would be asked not to use them inside. I’m not sure if this is a standard museum thing now, but as long as you didn’t use the flash, the museum was happy for photos to be taken.

This had been turned into a bit of a shrine with church candles in front!

This then brought about another puzzle for me. Whenever I’ve been to museums before, I’ve been used to people getting very up close and personal to the paintings, taking an age to pore over every brush stroke, then moving on to the next painting. Not so at the Banksy exhibit. It seemed that people were just walking up to a painting, taking a quick photo with their camera phone or whatever, and then moving on. It seemed very odd to me! People were more interested in taking their own little piece of Banksy stuff home with them than actually looking at the item in front of them. Whilst he is known for his stencil work, he is actually very talented, with the ability it seems to be able to emulate another style of painting.

Of course this was a favourite of mine!

Eman was very annoyed at one point – there was a large painting of the Houses of Parliament, but instead of human MP’s, it was filled with chimps and the occasional gorilla.Its a massive painting, so we stood in front of it for a little while, noticing little things that most people probably missed. As we moved away from the painting, we heard two girls who were about our age ask “Why are all those monkeys in court?” We had assumed most people knew what the Houses of Parliament looked like!

One of these things is not like the others

I really enjoyed the exhibit – it was also my first time visiting the City Museum (which my friends found surprising until I pointed out that I didn’t grow up in Bristol!) and would recommend it to anyone really! There was a huge variety of people there – from young children to grandparents!

“The Bad Artists Imitate, The Great Artists Steal”

This was next to the Darwin exhibit, the caption was “Here are examples of potential new animals that may evolve on earth”

I loved this, the image was printed onto some mesh metal, so you could see the Union flag behind it.

The animatronics were possibly the biggest attraction – I liked this little bunny who was so busy doing her nails!

Zoe wrote her own account of the weekend which can be found here. It was so nice to finally meet her! (Also to see her husband, who I haven’t seen since we finished uni in 2006!)
My Flickr set can be found here, and Zoe’s can be found here.

The exhibit is on until 31st August, if you can visit it, do! It took us about 2 hours to look around everything, which would leave plenty of time for some Bristol sightseeing – head to Stokes Croft to see some more street art, including some by Banksy of course (I love the Mild Mild West, it makes me smile every time I see it)


  1. Matt Gibson says

    Most, if not all, of the Bristol museums have a friendly attitude to photography. I’ve certainly taken photos (with permission) in the City Museum before, as well as the Red Lodge, the Georgian House, and the old Industrial Museum. Like you said, “no flash” seems to be the general rule.

    And thanks for a post today that I didn’t have to rush through my feed-reader at lunchtime before someone at work wondered why I was looking at pictures of girls in scanty lingerie :)


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