A major exhibition on the slave trade will be opened by HRH The Princess Royal on Monday.
Much of Bristol's wealth was built on the slave trade
Breaking the Chains will run at Bristol's British Empire & Commonwealth Museum for the next two years.
It is described as the centrepiece of the city's programme to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.
The £1m exhibition tells the story of Britain's involvement in the trade, and includes more than 300 artefacts.
Madge Dresser, from the School of History at the University of the West of England, said: "This exhibition tells us much about Britain - about its image of itself and its impact on the world.
"It bears witness too to the role which enslaved Africans played in their own liberation and to the power of popular campaigning against injustice."
More than 2,000 slave voyages left Bristol between 1698 and 1807, by which time more than two thirds of city's trade was directly related to slavery.
When the exhibition ends, some of its best elements will be moved to a permanent display in the new Museum of Bristol, which is set to open in 2009.