Wednesday 10 August 2022 0 comments

Learn about Glasgow's heritage at the city’s array of brilliant museums. Of major interest are institutions such as the Kelvingrove and the Riverside museums, which are housed in striking buildings that are attractions in themselves.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of the most visited art galleries and museums in the world, home to an incredible array of 8,000 exhibits spanning everything from a World War II Spitfire to Salvador Dalí's mesmerising Christ of St John of the Cross. Discover dinosaur skeletons, medieval armour, stunning works by the Dutch Old Masters, French Impressionists, and the Scottish Colourists. Other highlights include Sir Roger the Elephant, a taxidermy measuring 10.5 feet in height and one of Kelvingrove's most popular exhibits.

The construction of Kelvingrove was partly financed by the proceeds of the 1888 International Exhibition held in Kelvingrove Park. The gallery was designed by Sir John W. Simpson and E.J. Milner Allen, and opened in 1901 as the Palace of Fine Arts for the Glasgow International Exhibition held in that year. It is built in a Spanish Baroque style, follows the Glaswegian tradition of using Locharbriggs red sandstone, and includes an entire program of architectural sculpture by George Frampton, William Shirreffs, Francis Derwent Wood and other sculptors.

The centrepiece of the Centre Hall is a concert pipe organ constructed and installed by Lewis & Co. The organ was originally commissioned as part of the Glasgow International Exhibition, held in Kelvingrove Park in 1901. The organ was installed in the concert hall of the exhibition, which was capable of seating 3,000 people. The Centre Hall of the then newly completed Art Gallery and Museum was intended from the beginning to be a space in which to hold concerts. When the 1901 exhibition ended, a Councillor urged the Glasgow Corporation (now Glasgow Council) to purchase the organ, stating that without it, "the art gallery would be a body without a soul".

The museum's collections came mainly from the original Kelvingrove Museum and the McLellan Galleries. It has one of the finest collections of arms and armour in the world and a vast natural history collection. The art collection includes many outstanding European artworks, including works by the Old Masters (Vecellio's Madonna and Child with Saint Jerome and Saint Dorothy, Rembrandt van Rijn, Gerard de Lairesse, and Jozef Israëls), French Impressionists (such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Vincent van Gogh and Mary Cassatt), Dutch Renaissance, Scottish Colourists and exponents of the Glasgow School. The museum houses Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí. The copyright of this painting was bought by the curator at the time after a meeting with Dalí himself.

Explore the 22 galleries and discover everything from art to animals, Ancient Egypt to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and so much more. It also has a changing programme of temporary exhibitions and displays. If you only have one day in Glasgow, Kelvingrove is a must see!

Free entry. No need to book, just drop in.

Regular opening hours 
Monday - Thursday and Saturday: 10am-5pm 
Friday and Sunday: 11am-5pm

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Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel and The Tall Ship

Positioned right next to each other the Riverside Museum of Transport and The Tall Ship are located at the junction of the Rivers Kelvin and Clyde. The museum houses the city’s fabulous transport and technology collections, which have been gathered over the centuries and which reflect the important part Glasgow has played in the world through its contributions to heavy industries like shipbuilding, train manufacturing and engineering. The museum opened in 2011, with over 3,000 objects from the city's world-famous collections displayed inside.

Next to the museum is The Tall Ship which was built in 1896 on the River Clyde. Find out about the history of the ship and the voyages it undertook whilst walking aboard one of only 5 Clyde built ships still afloat, and the only one in the U.K. Aboard the ship you get a feel of what life was like for the sailors aboard the 'Glenlee' and how they coped spending many weeks on end at a time sailing across the seas.

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People's Palace and Winter Gardens

Telling the story of Glasgow and its people, The People's Palace details the history of its residents from 1750 to the present day. Located in Glasgow Green, the palace shows how Glaswegians have lived over the years through interactive displays, historic artefacts, paintings, prints and photographs and film. Note the People's Palace is open, but the Winter Gardens are currently closed.

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The Burrell Collection

The eclectic collection was acquired over many years by Sir William Burrell, a wealthy Glasgow shipping magnate and art collector, and his wife Constance, Lady Burrell, who then gave it to the city of Glasgow Corporation in 1944. Throughout his collecting career, Burrell lent many of the works in his collection to special exhibitions and for display in museums. Sometime around 1930, he decided that he was going to donate his entire collection to the public.

Containing over 9,000 objects, the Burrell contains an important collection of medieval art including stained glass and tapestries, oak furniture, medieval weapons and armour, Islamic art, artefacts from ancient Egypt and China, Impressionist works by Degas and Cézanne, modern sculpture and a host of other artefacts from around the world, all collected by Burrell. Paintings from five centuries and artworks spanning six millennia are found in the collection.

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