The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery

The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery
University of Glasgow
G12 8QQ



Mhairi Douglas, Visitor Services Manager

Monica Callaghan, Head of Education

Jill Barnfather, Education Assistant



0141 330 4221

Art Gallery

0141 330 5431



0141 330 3617

Art Gallery

0141 330 3618

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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The University of Glasgow's Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery is home to one of the top five collections in Scotland, with over a million items ranging from meteorites to Mackintosh and mummies.

The Hunterian is the legacy of Dr William Hunter, a pioneering obstetrician and teacher. His passion for collecting was legendary. Hunter was born and raised locally and was a student at the University of Glasgow. He moved to London in 1741, where he found fame and fortune as physician to the Royal family and teacher of anatomy and surgery. Hunter lavished his wealth on building up his vast and varied private collection.

When he died in 1783 he left his entire collection to the University of Glasgow, along with the money to create a suitable museum. The Hunterian opened its doors in 1807, making it Scotland's oldest public museum.

The present day Hunterian is spread across four sites on the University campus. The purpose built Hunterian Art Gallery and Mackintosh House are in Hillhead Street. The Hunterian Museum is in the Main University building on University Avenue. The Zoology Museum is in the Graham Kerr building and the Anatomy Museum is in the Thomson building.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

Open: Monday - Saturday 9.30am - 5.00pm

For group visits, prior booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

Closed Sundays and public holidays

Admission charges

Admission to the Museum and Art Gallery is free. Admission charge for The Mackintosh House.

The Hunterian collections are extensive and wide-ranging with just over one million objects. The recently published Scottish National Audit of all museum collections ranked the Hunterian as third in Scotland in terms of overall collection size, and in terms of the proportion of our collections which are of international importance.

Items from this collection

Collection details

Archaeology, Coins and Medals, Decorative and Applied Art, Design, Fine Art, Medicine, Natural Sciences, Personalities, Photography, Science and Technology, World Cultures

Key artists and exhibits

  • Asante Weights
  • Coins
  • Captain Cook
  • Dinosaurs
  • Egyptians
  • Hominid Evolution
  • Romans
  • Art Gallery: Mackintosh House, Glasgow Boys, Mackintosh Collection, Scottish Colourists, Whistler Collection
  • William Hunter and Anatomy
  • Zoololgy: Animal Architecture, Birds, Corals, Insects, Invertebrates, Mammals, Reptile, Amphibians, Fish
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

The Mackintosh House

  • 1 November 2013 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Hunterian Art Gallery houses one of the most important collections of the work of Scottish architect, designer and artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) and his artist-wife, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (1864-1933).‌

The Mackintosh House is a meticulous reassemblage of the principal interiors from the Mackintoshes’ Glasgow home. The couple lived at 78 Southpark Avenue (originally 6 Florentine Terrace) from 1906 to 1914. Substantial alterations were made in 1906 as Mackintosh remodelled the proportions and natural lighting of the Victorian end-of-terrace house. The principal interiors were decorated in his distinctive style, remarkable then, and now, for the disciplined austerity of the furnishings and decoration.


Hunterian Art Gallery

  • 1 November 2013 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Hunterian Art Gallery boasts one of the most distinguished public art collections in Scotland. Its permanent displays include works ranging from Rubens and Rembrandt to the Scottish Colourists and Glasgow Boys.

It also features the world’s largest permanent display of the work of James McNeill Whistler, the largest single holding of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and The Mackintosh House, the reassembled interiors from his Glasgow home.


Lord Kelvin: Revolutionary Scientist

  • 1 November 2013 — 1 November 2018 *on now

This permanent display is based around the life and work of William Thomson, or Lord Kelvin, Glasgow's greatest scientist. ‘Lord Kelvin: Revolutionary Scientist’ uses The Hunterian's world-famous collection of historical items and original scientific instruments to bring alive the story of a unique and humble man.

Along with such luminaries as Darwin and Lister, Lord Kelvin was a giant in the world of science, and his achievements make him one of Glasgow’s most famous citizens. Although born in Belfast, he came to Glasgow at a very young age and made the city his life-long home.

‘Lord Kelvin’ was the title William Thomson took when he was made the first ‘science lord’. He taught at the University of Glasgow for fifty-three years and became its Chancellor. In Glasgow his contribution to safety at sea was probably most profoundly appreciated because of the shipbuilding and international trading connections.


A Healing Passion: Medicine in Glasgow Past and Present

  • 1 November 2013 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Hunterian was built on the founding bequest of Dr William Hunter whose medical collections were the core of his career, museum and success.

‘A Healing Passion’ is a permanent display dedicated to medicine in Glasgow and draws on these unique collections to reflect the illustrious heritage of the region.‌

Glasgow and the West of Scotland continue to play an important part in the history of medicine and ground-breaking medical research, producing many key figures and significant achievements. ‘A Healing Passion’ explores major and lesser known figures in medicine and showcases their achievements covering anatomy, pathology, surgery, obstetrics and public health.

Of particular interest are some of William Hunter’s original 18th century anatomical and pathological specimens, Joseph Lister’s carbolic spray, some of the first X-Ray films made by John MacIntyre, and one of the first ultrasound scanners ever developed. The adjacent 'Science Showcase' features medical research topics from time to time.


The Antonine Wall: Rome's Final Frontier

  • 1 November 2013 — 1 November 2018 *on now

Built around AD 142 in the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, the Antonine Wall ran coast-to-coast across Scotland from the Clyde to the Firth of Forth.

This permanent gallery at the Hunterian Museum showcases the collection of spectacular monumental sculpture and other Roman artefacts recovered from the Wall, including richly sculptured distance slabs, unique to the frontiers of the Roman Empire.

'The Antonine Wall: Rome's Final Frontier' explores the biography of this important Roman monument and through The Hunterian's rich collections investigates four key themes: The building of the Wall, its architecture and impact on the landscape; the role of the Roman army on the frontier, the life and lifestyle of its soldiers; the cultural interaction between Roman and indigenous peoples, and evidence for local resistance; and the abandonment of the Wall and the story of its rediscovery over the last 350 years.


William Hunter: Man, Medic and Collector

  • 1 November 2013 — 1 November 2018 *on now

This permanent exhibition tells the story of Dr William Hunter, the Scottish obstetrician, teacher, collector and founder of the Hunterian Museum.

The display explores Hunter’s personal and professional life and highlights both his passion for collecting and his hugely successful career as a royal physician, outstanding teacher of anatomy and surgery and pioneering scientific researcher.


photograph of cluster shape pottery water bottle

The Art of Fiji

  • 6 January — 1 May 2015 *on now

Glasgow historically served as Scotland’s gateway to the distant colonies of the British Empire. The Hunterian holds approximately one hundred artefacts from Fiji, many donated by Glaswegian travellers over the last two centuries. This focus display showcases key objects from our collections and tells the stories of the artefacts and their donors, all of which have a fascinating connection to Glasgow.

The Hunterian is one of the Project Associate Museums who participated in the 3 year Arts and Humanities Research Council project jointly hosted by the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


image of colourful illustrated book

Ingenious Impressions: The Coming of the Book

  • 17 February — 21 June 2015 *on now

Ingenious Impressions is one of the first major exhibitions to explore the development and subsequent afterlives of these fascinating works. Many of them are beautifully produced, with interesting bindings and visually appealing decoration and illustrations.

The introduction of the printed book was a communication revolution, much as the internet has been in recent times. The invention of printing using mechanical movable type transformed bookmaking in Europe and was instrumental in the emergence of the Renaissance and the spread of learning across the continent.

The University of Glasgow’s collection is the largest in Scotland with over a thousand copies housed in the University Library. More than half come from the collection of Hunterian founder Dr William Hunter (1718-83).

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


painting of waterfall

Duncan Shanks Sketchbooks

  • 14 March — 16 August 2015 *on now

Leading Scottish landscape painter, Duncan Shanks, has made a major gift to The Hunterian of his entire output of sketchbooks from the past 45 years. This important addition to our collection of Scottish landscape art has been catalogued, photographed and conserved and a selection forms this special focus display.

A true landscape artist, Shanks presents us not with the familiar and predictable face of Nature but enables us to crouch low or soar high, to see it as we have never seen it before. His 104 sketchbooks, gifted to The Hunterian over the past two years, have been the anchors of his life as an artist.

This exhibition seeks to open up this unique body of work that will display his ability to astonish with colour and form, communicate his desire to share the feeling of being at one with Nature, and offer a glimpse into the increasingly varied functions of his sketchbooks over the past five decades.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


photograph of dagger

Cradle of Scotland

  • 3 September 2015 — 3 January 2016

Cradle of Scotland combines original artefacts found by the University of Glasgow’s Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot (SERF) project with replicas and visualisations, creating a stunning exhibition that explores the archaeological history of Scotland.

Forteviot has a special place in Scottish history and archaeologists from the University of Glasgow have been exploring the area since 2006. The death of King Kenneth mac Alpin, one of the first kings of a united Scotland, was recorded at the ‘palace’ of Forteviot in AD 858 when the site was a major royal centre in the fledgling Scottish nation. Forteviot is also the location of one of the most extensive concentrations of early prehistoric ritual monuments in mainland Scotland.

Cradle of Scotland also showcases the latest advances, technologies and discoveries in Scottish archaeology. Visitors will learn about the modern archaeological process in Scotland, and about the application of latest investigative and reconstructive methods.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Lusitania Ship

Night at the Museum: WW1 and RMS Lusitania

  • 15 May 2015 7-10pm

Come along for this unique evening that literally throws light on the subject of the RMS Lusitania. For one night only, we'll be illuminating the awe-inspiring naval feature in the magnificent main hall bringing the story of the Lusitania to life. Adding to the atmosphere will be a series of film and pictorial memories projected around the building as well as the sounds and stories of WW1 to listen to as you make your way through the installation. We want you to take your time and relax with this full sensory exploration of our shared history so do take advantage of the refreshments on offer and maybe share a memory or two with our other visitors.

Suitable for


RMS Lusitania

Night at the Museum: WWI and RMS Lusitania

  • 15 May 2015 From 7pm

For one night only, The Hunterian will showcase a unique illumination and sound installation inspired by WWI events and the RMS Lusitania exhibition.

Lighting the ‘upturned boat’ architectural feature of the main hall in the Hunterian Museum will bring it to life, along with a series of film and image projections, sound installation, refreshments and pop-up shop to create a unique social and learning environment.


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Junior Archaeologists' Club

For children aged 8 years and over who are interested in archaeology. The club meets at the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, on the first Saturday of every month at 10am. New members very welcome.

How to obtain

Call the museum on 0141 3304221 for further details or to join.