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Strong links to Scotland
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (Glasgow)
Member Name: StampedingTurtes
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (Glasgow)
Advantages: Varied and interesting exhibits and lots to do for children and adults.
Disadvantages: The cafe can be a little expensive (but their scones are great!)
Kelvingrove was refurbished and reopened in 2007. There are numerous new exhibits and the addition of several activity centres.
When you walk into Kelvingrove you immediately notice the large organ upstairs. This is used for recitals. People generally sit in the cafe area to watch and listen.
Turning left leads into the "Life" section of the museum, where you will be greeted by Sir Rodger, the Asian elephant. This section is popular with families as children love to see the animals. There is a giraffe, gazelle, giant spider crab, an exhibition of flying insects and various other natural world exhibitions. This area gives visitors an insight into the size of some of the animals on our planet. It is always surprising to note just how tall the giraffe is!
Following on from here visitors can enter the section on Scottish wildlife. Here you come across Scottish birds and wildlife in Glasgow, as well as more traditional deer and highland cows. Again, this may be the only time some children have ever seen a highland cow up close. A great section for those who love animals. There are also some interactive exhibits for children.
Following on from here we enter Creatures from the Past. This is a wonderful exhibit containing a dinosaur skeleton and various fossils as well as models of extinct animals from prehistoric times. Again this area is popular with families - all children love dinosaurs don't they?
Here we also find an area dedicated to Scotland's lost wildlife. It contains information on animals which are now extinct in Scotland, with some fur and other things for visitors to touch. It's actually quite a quiet little area; generally people feel a little sadness at the loss of such beautiful creatures.
The Ancient Egypt exhibit is, once again, very popular with families. This would also be an excellent area to use for topic work on Ancient Egypt around level C. The museum's collection of Egyptian artefacts is wide and impressive. There is a sarcophagus, various statues and totems and jars and pots. It gives children a very real experience of all of the objects they have been discussing in class.
Glasgow stories is the next section. Here we see information about Glasgow's links to various countries in the world. There is a small section on James Watt here too and, perhaps the most poignant exhibit here is "Symbols that Divide". Glasgow and the West of Scotland have a long history of Sectarianism. This area contains both Catholic iconography - a cross, a priest; and Protestant objects - an Orange banner. There is a wonderful photo of two little boys, one wearing a Celtic top, the other a Rangers top, waving together at the camera. This area could be used as a class visit too.
Crossing to the other side of the museum we enter the Expression area. You immediately notice the large display of expression heads hanging from the ceiling. Visitors are challenged to count the expressions on the faces. There is a great area dedicated to masks which, once again, can be used with a school topic.
The area dedicated to "Looking at Art" is fascinating! There are displays of restored paintings which have been x-rayed to reveal an alternate image underneath. This is a wonderful little area of the museum and will keep adults occupied for ages!
Kelvingrove being a Glasgow museum, there is obviously an area dedicated to Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Here we see examples of his work and information about his life as well as discussion of The Glasgow Style and information about Mackintosh's work with Miss Cranston in creating her tea room's distinctive style. A fascinating exhibit if you are interested in Mackintosh's work.
The Scottish art section which follows on from Mackintosh contains numerous works by the Glasgow boys - a group of Scottish artists who were seen to be revolutionary in the late 1800's.
Upstairs the museum has an impressive display of armoury including traditional warrior armour and animal armoury. There is a great exhibit about a Navy officer who served during WWII, and a section about the Holocaust. Once again, these would make an interesting visit for schools studying the War.
Right outside the section on armoury hangs the painting "Christ of St. John of the Cross" by Dali. A few years ago some vandal attacked the painting and ripped part of it. It has been beautifully restored and is now behind glass. However, it is an entirely hypnotic piece of art and certainly seems to evoke an air of reverence from those viewing it. I would recommend a visit to the museum to see this piece alone.
Continuing along the corridor, the area called Cultural survival contains many cultural artefacts from Scotland and around the world as well as information about their histories. I particularly liked the section about the islands of St Kilda. These islands used to be inhabited, but now they are a national nature reserve and wildlife colony.
Across towards the other side of the museum there are galleries of French, Italian, Dutch art. The museum holds an impressive collection of art both religious and secular. It is an interesting and calming experience to walk through the galleries viewing the various artworks. This area has a completely different atmosphere to the more hands on areas downstairs.
The section on Scottish Identity in Art is interesting and contains both divine and ridiculous paintings. It is interesting to view and to see what foreign tourists make of it all. This section could also be used with a class discussing Scotland and Scottish identity.
The last section of the museum to explore is the area representing Scotland's first people. It is fascinating to find out about Bronze Age Scotland and the Viking links to Scotland.
Kelvingrove is a wonderful museum which provides much information about a huge variety of topics, but still keeps strong links with Scotland. People from Glasgow and Scotland love coming here as much as the tourists do. The building is beautiful and looks right on the river Kelvin behind. There are also great views on the University beyond and good access to the main building via a walkway.
Kelvingrove is a great day out for all ages and could be the start of an interesting day of sightseeing in Glasgow.
Summary: A Scottish museum filled with things to do and see from all around the world.
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