Glasgow Museums is in many ways a unique organisation. It is the largest civic museum service in the UK – with 10 museums and galleries. These include: the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) a contemporary art gallery in the heart of the city, St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, one of only 4 museums of religion in the world; the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, a publicly accessible store and home of the Open Museum; Riverside Museum, a purpose-built award-winning transport museum; the internationally known Burrell Collection and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, our flagship venue. Glasgow Museums receive nearly 4 million visits per year. In 2017 Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove were the 11th and 12th most visited museums in the UK. All our museums are free to visit and most are open 7 days a week.
The collection is as eclectic as it is large – with over 1 million items. These range from world class collections of fine art to one of the finest arms and armour collections in Europe to natural history, social history, costumes and textiles, transport and technology, archaeology and world cultures. The entire collection of Glasgow Museums is recognised as a nationally significant collection.
Although Edinburgh is its capital, Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and the 4th largest in the United Kingdom after London, Birmingham and Leeds. Located along the River Clyde in the West Central Lowlands, over the past 30 years Glasgow has transformed itself from an industrial city struggling to stay alive in a declining manufacturing economy, to a city building a new identity from different economic bases, bolstered by culture, creativity and innovation. It was nominated as European City of Culture in 1990, won the UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999, hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games and this year will be hosting the 2018 European Championships.
Glasgow Museums has been hosting ITP fellows for 11 years, since 2007 when they welcomed Fatma and Sahar from Egypt and Khaled from Iraq. They have benefited from participating in the programme in several ways. Fellows have had direct input into the understanding of Glasgow Museums’ collections, and learnt a great deal about how museums operate in other parts of the world. With so many lively and dedicated museum professionals questioning the museum colleagues about institutional procedures, colleagues at Glasgow Museums have had been given insights into how their practice could change. They have also been able to use the experience from ITP to help improve their approach to other placements. The learning process has been very much a two way thing.
Colleagues from Glasgow Museums reconnected with fellows at ITP conferences Towards a global network in Cairo, Egypt in 2010 and Creating museums of world stories hosted by CSMVS in Mumbai, India in 2015. Colleagues from Glasgow also participated in the conference and workshop Learning, Engagement and Museums held in Yerevan, Armenia in 2016. In 2019 colleagues at Glasgow Museums hosted the bi-annual ITP UK partner meeting at the Riverside Museum.