Hunterian staff first to move into revamped Kelvin Hall
Hunterian staff have officially moved into their new offices in the £35m revamped Kelvin Hall building.
As the finishing touches are being completed on the iconic Glasgow landmark building, staff at The Hunterian have relocated to the new combined centre for learning, culture, heritage, sporting and leisure in the heart of Glasgow’s west end.
The move represents a milestone for the building’s new lease of life, as The Hunterian staff relocate from the University of Glasgow’s main campus to new contemporary offices on the top floor of Kelvin Hall.
The building will eventually house the entire Hunterian study collection, with its 1.5 million artefacts and objects, currently stored at nine Hunterian storage sites spread across the city. Moving the collection under one roof at Kelvin Hall will make it easier to access the items for research and teaching as well as providing easier public access.
At present the world famous Hunterian Museum and Gallery, as well as the Mackintosh House, will not be relocating to Kelvin Hall and will remain in their current locations on the main campus at the University of Glasgow.
Professor David Gaimster, Director of The Hunterian, 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. Bringing all our study collections and staff together allows us to offer much greater public access and to create opportunities for innovative reserach and learning.
"New discoveries and research generated by our new Collections Study Centre will enable us to expand and enrich The Hunterian special exhibition and events programmes offered in our galleries on the Univeristy of Glasgow campus."
Kelvin Hall presents an exciting new chapter in the development of The Hunterian, Scotland’s oldest public museum and one of its greatest cultural assets. Bringing all our study collections and staff together allows us to offer much greater public access and to create opportunities for innovative research and learning. New discoveries and research generated by our new Collections Study Centre will enable us to expand and enrich The Hunterian special exhibition and events programmes offered in our galleries on the University of Glasgow campus ’
Kelvin Hall will become an international centre for research and study for the University of Glasgow; a cultural heritage centre for the National Library of Scotland’s Moving Image Archive; store Glasgow Museums collections; and become a centre for excellence when it comes to sport and leisure with Glasgow Life’s state-of-the-art sporting facilities.
It is the first public building development of its kind in Scotland where partners from across higher education; national collections; museums and civic institutions have worked together in collaboration to create a cultural, educational and sporting facility 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.
He said: “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 facility. It is an international facility, it is a 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 culture and it is open to sport. It is open for the benefits of health and well being linked to exercise, and it is open for the benefits of health and well being linked to culture.
“Kelvin Hall is attracting international interest and international partners. It also symbolises the first development in the University’s new campus strategy, the openness to the city, 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.”
But what will Kelvin Hall mean for academic staff and postgraduate students teaching and studying the new courses based in the revamped building?
Dr John MacDonald, a lecturer in Geographical and Earth Sciences, who teaches second and third year undergraduates about sedimentary rocks, 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 the Hunterian collection is science based, particularly the natural sciences.
“I think Kelvin Hall will be a large teaching space with such a wide range of sample collections and I think both for ourselves as teachers in earth science but also for the students, having closer access to these samples will lead to a deeper engagement with our students and with the materials, leading to a better learning experience.
Alicia Hughes, a PhD researcher at the University of Glasgow, studying William Hunter’s collection of anatomical drawings, said: “Kelvin Hall is bringing all the collections back under one roof. When Hunter founded the collection and left it to the University of Glasgow there wasn’t the same boundary between art and science disciplines that we have today. So we will 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 are all there on the one site, so I don’t have to go across town to visit one archive and then run back across town to visit another archive, so it’s going to be very practical. It’s going to make it much more efficient to do research.”
For more information contact Jane Chilton in the University of Glasgow Communications and Public Affairs Office on 0141 330 3535 or email Jane.email@example.com
First published: 11 August 2016