Do It Yourself Museum To Open In Glasgow

By Corinne Field | 14 November 2003
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Shows a picture of the new GMRC. Under clear blue skies the white building with blacked out windows and a metallic balcony rail looks really futuristic. In the forground on is a paved area with three concrete balls.

Photo: The futuristic GMRC building comprises four pods. Courtesy of Glasgow Museums.

The Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC) in South Nitshill is a new kind of museum that will give the general public a chance to view collections that were previously only seen by museum staff.

"It is not normal in a number of ways," says Paul Kane, a spokesperson for Glasgow Museums. "People can't just walk in off the street. It is primarily an educational tool."

Shows a picture of three wooden balls. The one on the left is a dark green, and more of a rounded cross shape than a ball. The one in the centre looks is brown and looks like a walnut. And the one on the right is dark green and is carved rather like a tennis ball.

Photo: Neolithic carved stone balls. Courtesy of Glasgow Museums.

The idea is that exhibits that have been stored away in museum archives because of lack of display space will be available to view by the general public.

The collections will be 'on display' but there won't be display panels or glass cases with explanatory notes like those found in traditional museum spaces.

What there will be are guided tours by curators and viewing rooms where people can examine pieces from the collections close up. Visitors can be left alone to study a particular exhibit or have it explained to them by one of the staff.

Paul Kane thinks that there is a real advantage for art lovers and students of art who will be able to request groups of paintings to study and compare that are not normally seen together.

Shows a painting of a calm sea and cloudy skies.

Photo: L S Lowrie's Seascape. Courtesy of Glasgow Museums.

The GMRC will house a fifth of the entire Glasgow collection, the largest local authority collection in the UK, and will include some real treasures.

The star attractions are a pair of Neolithic carved stone balls, L S Lowry's Seascape and two busts by Her Majesty's Sculptor in Ordinary for Scotland in 1963, Benno Schotz, Self Portrait and Millie.

In addition there are oil paintings, ceramics, glass, sculpture and archaeological specimens on display for the first time.

And there is a special treat for those that visit in the next few years - all of the around 180,000 pieces from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum will be housed at the GMRC until the refurbishment of Glasgow's most famous museum is completed sometime in 2006.

Shows two orange busts made from terracotta. The one on the left is of a man with a bald head on top and bushy hair at the sides. He is wearing a suit and putting what looks like a book into his right-hand breast pocket. The bust on the right is of a woman. She has her hair scraped back and is wearing a high-necked dress.

Photo: Two busts by Benno Schotz, Self Portrait and Millie, a bust of the sculptor's wife. Courtesy of Glasgow Museums.

The futuristic GMRC building comprises four pods, only one of these, pod four, will be available for viewing when the centre opens to the public on November 28. But completion of the whole building is expected early next year.

As well as guided tours and the opportunity to view works close up there will be workshops, activities, talks and a temporary exhibition space that will show collections in a more traditional way.

The GMRC is part of a plan to regenerate the South Nitshill area and marks the completion of the first stage of development of the Museum Business Plaza, which aims to bring jobs and businesses to the area.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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