Hunterian staff move into Kelvin Hall

Hunterian staff have officially moved into their new offices in the £35m revamped Kelvin Hall.‌‌

As the finishing touches are put on the iconic landmark building, the University of Glasgow was the first partner organisation to take residence, with Hunterian staff relocating to offices on the top floor last week.

Kelvin Hall will eventually house the entire Hunterian study collection of 1.5 million objects. These are currently stored at nine different sites across the city. Bringing them together under one roof will allow much easier access for researchers, teachers and the public.

The Hunterian Museum and Gallery and the Mackintosh House, meanwhile, will stay in their current locations on the Gilmorehill campus.

Hunterian Director Professor David Gaimster said: "Kelvin Hall presents an exciting new chapter in the development of The Hunterian, Scotland's oldest museum and one of its greatest cultural assets. Discoveries and research generated by our new Collections Study Centre will enable us to expand and enrich the exhibition and events programmes in our galleries."

But what will Kelvin Hall mean for University staff and students on the new courses based there?

What Kelvin Hall will mean for staff and students

Dr John MacDonald is a lecturer in Geographical and Earth Sciences, who teaches second and third year undergraduates about sedimentary rocks. He said: "I think people have the perception that a lot of the Hunterian collection is purely arts objects, textiles and the like, but actually a huge amount of it is science based, particularly the natural sciences.

"Kelvin Hall will be a large teaching space with a wide range of sample collections. For teachers and students in earth science, having access to these will lead to a deeper engagement with the materials and a better learning experience.

Alicia Hughes, who is studying anatomical drawings for her PhD, said: "When Hunter founded the collection and left it to the University there wasn't the same boundary between art and science disciplines that we have today. We'll be able to see that when the collection comes back under one roof at Kelvin Hall. I think for researchers the accessibility is going to be wonderful.

"The collections will all be there on the one site, so I won’t have to go across town to visit one archive and then back across town to another. It's going to be very practical, and make it much more efficient to do research."

Unique partnership

Professor Murray Pittock

Kelvin Hall is the first public building development of its kind in Scotland where partners from higher education, national collections, museums and civic institutions have worked together to create cultural, educational and leisure facilities under one roof.

Professor Murray Pittock, Vice-Principal of the University of Glasgow, says the legacy of such a unique partnership will have widespread benefits for all.

"Kelvin Hall is nearly complete. We are at the end of the journey now but we are also at the beginning, because this is a unique, international, global facility. It is the city of Glasgow looking outwards and it will bring the world to Scotland and Scotland to the world.

"It is open to everything from access to visitors, to collections, to high level research on collections. It is open to the benefits of health and well being linked to exercise and to culture.

"Kelvin Hall is attracting international interest and international partners. As one of the first developments in the University’s new campus strategy, it also symbolises the openness to the city, and the co-creation of knowledge which is very much part of the University of Glasgow’s strategy for the future.

"It is what lies behind the openness of the new Western Campus site, and re-inscribes the values of the Scottish Enlightenment where knowledge and the promotion of understanding knows no borders: no border between researcher and visitor, no border between sports and culture, no border between city and university, no border between the National Library’s Moving Image Archive and the most rare and valuable collections of the Hunterian Museum and of the city of Glasgow."

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First published: 9 August 2016

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