The spectacular museums of Glasgow have captured the city’s soul, displaying the most visually stunning architecture, art collections, armouries and historical artefacts for native Glaswegians and visitors alike with tantalizing glimpses of the earliest traces of Glasgow history.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is the most visited gallery and museum in Scotland. The site of one of the best-amassed collections in Europe, it is the home of Salvador Dali’s Christ of St. John the Cross, and also features 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings, French impressionists, the Glasgow Boys and modern works by Joan Eardley. There is an entire wing devoted to the great Scottish architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh as well as science exhibits.
The Burrell Collection
The Burrell Collection is home to the passionate art collection of Sir William Burrell. Part of a wealthy family shipping business, Burrell bequeathed his collection and funds to the city to establish a home for the various art and archaeological anthologies in his possession. It is here that medieval scholars and amateur swordsmen come to view and immerse themselves in artefacts and armouries of a distant past.
Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)
Opened in 1996, the Gallery of Modern Art is a contemporary art gallery, displaying works by international and local artists and GoMA presents a contemplative program of temporary workshops and exhibitions. Twice annually, it offers major projects addressing social issues of contemporary times. The museum is located in the heart of the city, housed in a graceful neo-classical building refurbished by an amalgamation of artistic commissions, incorporating both old and new architecture.
The Open Museum
The Open Museum is a community outreach program, based at Glasgow Museums Resource Centre. The premise of the institution is to take Glasgow's museum collections outside the museum walls and into the community. A solid interactive museum, it offers object-handling kits, displays and exhibitions that are available for loan out. This free service is available for groups, schools and community events that wish to borrow museum objects for cultural or educational displays.
Provand's Lordship was built in 1471 by the Bishop of Glasgow, Andrew Muirhead, and is one of two oldest buildings in Glasgow. Provand’s Lordship is three stories of rooms connected by a stunning spiral staircase. The first floor recreates the Prebend chamber with life-sized mannequins lending an eerie sense of the past and the central room displays the history of medieval Scotland and the house itself. There is a fascinating display of wooden furniture sprinkled throughout the house and the third floor has been converted to a gallery.
The People’s Palace is an encapsulation of life from the 1750’s to the present. Originally built in 1898 for the benefit of working class inhabitants, it is a delightful social historical museum where the public can see how Glaswegians lived, worked and played. Some of the highlights are the 1970 banana boots of Billy Connelly, an Anderson air raid shelter and interactive computer displays. At the front of the museum is the world’s largest terracotta fountain in the world, the famous Doulton fountain, gifted by Henry Doulton to the city of Glasgow.
St Mungo’s Museum
Across from the Provand’s Lordship, stands a honey-coloured building that looks as if it was built during the same period. However, the St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art was built in 1993, and serves as a repository for the worlds most noted and most obscure religions. It is the home of the United Kingdom’s first permanent Zen Garden, Christian stained glass windows, the Hindu god Shiva, and a fifteenth century Islamic prayer rug. It also has a timeline exhibition of religion pertaining exclusively to the people of Scotland.
The Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC)
The Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC) is a new kind of museum that is used primarily as a resource and educational tool. It allows the public a chance to see collections that only staff were permitted to view. An innovative practice is viewing rooms where people can request certain objects be shown together for comparison or contrast. The GMRC is the largest local authority collection in the United Kingdom and is a compilation of four futuristic pods where many of Scotland’s treasures will be displayed for the first time to the public. Exhibitions will feature glass, sculpture, ceramics, archaeological artefacts and oil paintings as well as guided tours, workshops and discussions.
Scotland Street School Museum
The last building Charles Rennie Mackintosh ever commissioned was the Scotland Street School. It is a towering monument and a lifetime achievement that features unique stonework, outstanding lead-glass towers, an awe-inspiring tiled entrance hall and a master’s approach to the principles of light and space. The school has been converted into a public tableau that explores the history of the school itself and the daily lives of its pupils at the turn of the century. The museum maintains an incredible photographic database for genealogy researchers.