Glasgow in recent years has emerged from being a sleeping giant into a culturally significant city. Several events became a catalyst for changing the direction of the city’s growth. These included the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988, the opening of The Burrell Collection highlighted below and the city being named the 1990 European City of Culture with events held for a year.
In addition to the outstanding architecture by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander Thomson, there are some wonderful museums featuring the history of Glasgow and wonderful works of art:
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum: This museum is worth the visit. In addition to the Mackintosh material on display, I enjoyed some of the Scottish paintings and the impressionist and post impressionist paintings by Monet, Van Gogh and others.
Riverside Museum: This new transportation museum, that recently opened, is a great place to walk and see all types of transportation from old bicycles, motorbikes, train and street cars and automobiles. There is a tall ship along the dock in the back. The innovative design was by noted architect Zaha Hadid who has established an international reputation for innovative and contemporary designs.
Gallery of Modern Art: Located on Royal Exchange Square, this is a museum focusing on contemporary art. Check out the current exhibitions. Seeing the building itself is worth the visit more than the art. It is located in the heart of downtown.
The Burrell Collection: Located in Pollok Country Park, west of downtown, is a museum well worth visiting. A lot of the space features important examples of late medieval art, Chinese and Islamic Art and Ancient Civilizations. But the highlight for me was the sculptures by Rodin and the wonderful paintings by Degas and Cezanne. It was my favorite museum in Glasgow.
According to the Museum’s webste, “Sir William Burrell (1861-1958) was a highly successful business man and international art collector. His love of art began at an early age when he bought his first painting aged 15 with a few shillings he’d been given for a cricket bat. This was the catalyst for a great love and appreciation of art which saw him become an active collector for over 75 years.
He was one of the largest donors of artworks to the 1901 Glasgow International Exhibition, which left a cherished mark on the city with the legacy of the much-loved Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
In 1944, William Burrell, together with his wife Constance, generously gifted their Collection to the City with specific wishes for it to be housed where people could appreciate the art in a countryside setting. The specially built Burrell Collection museum in Pollok Country Park opened in 1983 which inspired the rejuvenation of Glasgow as a major cultural city.”
Pollok House, is part of the National Trust for Scotland with beautiful grounds and it has some great decorative arts and Spanish paintings by El Greco, Goya and Murillo.
The Lighthouse: Located in the former Glasgow Herald building at 11 Mitchell Lane, this is now a building with a great contemporary interior housing Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture. There is a Mackintosh Centre where you can see drawings, models and some of his great chair designs. Make sure to see the exterior of the building which was Mackintosh’s first public commission.
Today you can attent Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival in September where you can visit normally closed buildngs to experience the architecture and interiors with over 200 open building, guided walks and events. “Explore some of the city’s iconic historic buildings and architectural gems, and get behind the scenes at theatres, working factories, distilleries and more! Discover your inner urban explorer on our guided walks, get hands on with workshops and delve into the history and future of the city with our programme of talks!”