The Merchant City of Scotland – Reflections on Week 4 of the ITP Summer Programme (Elizabeth Asafo-Adjei, ITP 2019, Ghana)

Written by Elizabeth Asafo-Adjei, Curator, Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (ITP 2019, Ghana).

How can it be ITP week four when I still cannot get enough of the Merchant City? Glasgow as my 10 day UK partner placement museum seemed fine, until I saw the weather chart dropping to 12˚C. I felt blue when the day drew closer and worse when we were welcomed into Glasgow Central by the rain. But it changed within minutes, then I remembered been told that, the weather could throw up some surprises. We were met by Patricia Allan (Curator, World Cultures) and Ed Johnson (Ed Johnson, Assistant Curator – Collections) from Glasgow Museums and we went to check into our breath-taking rooms. After settling in, we had a tour through the city and we met other members of staff from the Glasgow Museums. We enjoyed their company and began to get excited for seeing the Glasgow Museums, starting with the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Martin Bellamy’s (Research and Curatorial Manager) presentation introduced us to some of the museums like the Riverside Museum for Transportation and Technology of Glasgow; People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, Kelvin Hall Culture and Sports Arena, St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) and the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC) where all the museums professionals can be found. The GMRC is the home of museum stories and storages for the objects along with their conservation laboratories. We tried our hands on developing our own story when we visited.

Summer activity

At Kelvingrove, I had the opportunity to take some children through a summer activity for the day; creating their own magical artwork from ‘The Druids: Bringing in the Mistletoe’. I enjoyed working with them. Each day at 13:00 the museum comes alive. Kelvin Hall presented a challenge: a sports arena that draws attention to museum objects and film archives but makes room for kids too. A challenge I’m still trying to workout.

My highlight of the week started with the tour in the Peoples Palace and as the night drew in, Tramway came alive with a contemporary art exhibition, ‘UNTIL’, by Nick Cave with whom I had a good quick chat with. It was the best way to create the mood to go ‘doon the watter’ to the Isle of Bute – Mount Stuart.

People’s Palace, Tramway and the Isle of Bute

The weather has been fair, allowing me to really learn many things from the Glasgow Museums. There are many ways to always tell a story and it starts with the people.

People make Glasgow.