Newest Review: ... second smaller gallery had loads of Scottish wildlife that a Glasgow kid will not see in their everyday life like red squirrels, golden eag... more
Who said museums are boring?
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (Glasgow)
Member Name: wigglylittleworm
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (Glasgow)
Advantages: lots to see
Disadvantages: too many kids
Kelvingrove museum and art gallery has been on my "to visit" list for a long time. Last weekend we finally made the trip through to Glasgow and saw the museum which is in the heart of Glasgow and home to more than 8000 exhibits. The museum is set in a gorgeous sandstone building next to Kelvingrove Park with a bronze sculpture of St Mungo, patron saint of the arts, flanked by two women representing art and music. The site has limited parking as well as good public transport links. The museum is set over three floors although the lower ground floor houses the temporary exhibitions; when we visited it was 500 years of Italian Art which cost £5 for an adult to enter but the rest of the museum is free.
The ground floor is a huge light and airy space and was a hive of activity. The main gallery here shows all kinds of animal life. Huge stuffed animals, including an elephant and giraffe, take pride of place in this exhibition. The standard of the taxidermy is high, I have seen some pathetic looking specimens in the past but these animals were really lifelike. A second smaller gallery had loads of Scottish wildlife that a Glasgow kid will not see in their everyday life like red squirrels, golden eagles and the capperceily along with interactive displays. Kids will love the clear beehive where bees come from the outside via a tunnel and make honey. Evolution is covered in a brilliant section devoted to Darwin's life and work with skeletons which shows the advancement from primate to human so you can see evolution in action.
Moving through to a smaller gallery is creatures from the past. This dinosaur themed exhibition is fascinating and has full sized skeletons and fossils including a cast of a dinosaur footprint found in the Western Isles of Scotland. There is a lot of reading material here too and I was surprised dinosaur remains had been found in Scotland.
The highlight of the Ancient Egypt gallery is the huge stone sarcophagus of Pa-ba-sa dating from around 600BC. There is also a mummy displayed in a coffin as well as many smaller artefacts. The explanations about hieroglyphics were the best I have read and I started to understand the fascination that people have for the Egyptians. The exhibition itself cannot compare in any way to the superior exhibits in the National Museum in Edinburgh but is still a good one.
The central hall of the ground floor is a huge open space with a café selling the typical overpriced coffees, cakes and sandwiches. The Kelvingrove organ is a massive pipe organ on the second floor but it is here you can gather and listen to the daily concert. The organist played a series of popular classics on the day we visited, the music was not the best for the organ and some Bach would have been better but it was still enjoyable to sit and listen to it.
Thankfully the upper floor was a lot quieter than the ground floor with far fewer kids running around. This floor concentrates more on artwork although there is also a section on warfare which I only briefly looked at as it is not something I have an interest in. The artworks were varied from historical to modern and there was lots of sculpture as well as paintings.
Dali's Christ of St John on the Cross is the jewel in the art collection, bought in 1952 it has always drawn crowds eager to see it. The painting shows Christ on the cross from above and is in its own separate gallery with benches where you can sit and contemplate. It is an outstanding work of art that evokes a sense of wonder in the viewer and it is worth a trip to Kelvingrove to see this painting alone.
As we visited on a nice sunny day we enjoyed taking a picnic and sitting eating outside in Kelvingrove park and also bought additional refreshments from the small outdoor café. They were overpriced at £2 for a small cup of machine coffee but you have to expect that where they have a captive market.
I think I am spoiled in terms of museums after many visits to the Royal and National museum in Edinburgh. Kelvingrove is not nearly on the same scale in terms of size nor does it have the breadth of exhibits on offer but it is still a nice place to spend an afternoon but unlike the Edinburgh museums it is not somewhere you can return dozens of times and still not see everything. It was a little bit too child friendly for my liking with the ground floor in particular being full of exuberant children running around as I prefer quiet and calm. The teenagers enjoyed the visit just as much as the adults meaning that it is a good place to visit for young and old.
Summary: worth a visit
More reviews in the field of Museum National
- The Lost Prince: The Life & Death of Henry Stuart
- Shakespeare: Staging the World (British Museum)
- Hollywood Costume (V&A)
- Northamptonshire Ironstone Railway Museum
- The National Museum of Scotland
- Victoria and Albert Museum (London)
- Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum (London)
- Design Museum (London)
- Florence Nightingale Museum (London)
- Freud Museum (London)