Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives (part of the Culture & Creative Industries division of Bristol City Council) is responsible for museum collections across the natural sciences, humanities and arts amounting to c.2million items and also for 11 miles of archive shelving at the Bristol Archives. The mission of the service is to be excellent, resilient, valued and inclusive. Geology, Eastern Art and City of Bristol collections are 'Designated' as of international importance. Geology collections include 13,000 minerals, 3,000 rocks and 500,000 fossils. Strengths of the collections are the Pleistocene verts, Carboniferous corals and plants, Late Triassic verts and Jurassic marine reptiles. Biology includes 450,000 insects, 150,000 shells, 55,000 plants, 2,000 mammals, 30,000 birds and 5,000 birds eggs and nests from around the world including many type specimens (that define species names), these data-rich collections are available for study and for sampling. Examples of how this collection has been used by researchers in the last couple of years: 3D synchrotron scanning of the internal microstructure of the teeth of the sauropod Cetiosaurus, an ichthyosaur from the UK Triassic to Jurassic boundary: focused study on the macroevolution of the Rhynchocephalia, reviewing our specimen of the Tuatara: study of Plasmodiophorid infection on the oldest specimen of Ruppia maritima 1885: completed genetic database derived from samples collected across Europe of stag beetles: bioacoustic properties of Lepidoptera wing scales: feather samples from Strisores for feather colour evolution studies and air pollution has been quantified from our frozen ark collection. Our goal is to facilitate, undertake, collaborate an encourage research working closely with universities by teaching and providing placements for students, developing and interpreting the scientific results from the collection to the greater public by publishing scientific papers and giving greater access to collections. Our ability to understand the natural world depends on the collection, preservation, and ongoing study of natural history specimens. A physical specimen can provide a wealth of unexpected information, a scientific treasure; collections contain unique objects that cannot be collected again easily to or at all, in some cases. In addition our collections of archaeology, word cultures, eastern art, fine and decorative arts of the UK and Europe and our local history holdings are a huge resource similarly available for research and study.
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