Programs and Tours
Renewing Scotland's Most Popular Museum: Lecture by Mark O’Neill, Director of Policy and Research at Glasgow Life and former head of Glasgow Museums
Opened in 1901, Glasgow's Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery expressed the confidence of Victorians that one museum could house a world encyclopedia — with Old Masters and Egyptian mummies, French Impressionists and Scottish wildlife, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and arms and armor. By the 1990s the 100,000 square foot museum regularly achieved over one million visits each year, in a city of 600,000 people. It was however very tired, with failing systems and some displays that had not been renewed since the 1940s. The philosophy of the refurbishment was to build on Victorian commitments to the museum as a center for public education, but also to reflect a century of developments in psychology, communications and respect for diversity, as well as many experiments in access in Glasgow's other museums (Glasgow has the largest civic museum complex in the UK.) The aim was to create an object-based, visitor-centered, flexible and responsive museum. In its first year after reopening Kelvingrove had over 3,000,000 visits, making it the 14th most visited museum in the world, ahead of MOMA and the Uffizi. This lecture will explore the philosophy behind the refurbishment and the successes and failures of its implementation.
Thursday, 15 March, 2012
Helmut Stern Auditorium
University of MichiganMuseum of Art
525 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1354