Spotlight on Glasgow: the Hunterian Museum

24 Feb 2017 - Barni Homden

Universities are a hugely important part of the national culture, and nowhere is this more apparent than at the University of Glasgow. This is because the University is home to the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, one of Scotland’s most significant cultural assets.

In fact, the Hunterian Museum is over 200 years old, founded in 1807 upon a request by Dr William Hunter before he died. This makes the Hunterian Scotland’s oldest public museum.

This serves as an excellent resource for students at the University of Glasgow – in fact, William Hunter remarked in his will that he hoped the founding of the museum would help ‘the improvement of the students’ of the University.

Over the years, the Hunterian Museum has built a reputation as one of the world’s best university museums, and its collections have been officially recognised as a Collection of National Significance. It has also undoubtedly been a contributing factor to Glasgow’s excellent ranking for research quality, currently 12th in the UK (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).

Glasgow Hunterian Museum

As an anatomy professor and physician to Queen Charlotte, Hunter was keenly interested in the natural world and amassed a vast zoology collection. This collection has been greatly expanded over the years, and now includes a wide range of fossils and an extensive insect collection.

The museum also houses displays relating to Roman Scotland, Geology, Ethnography, Ancient Egypt and historic instruments. The museum is open to the general public, meaning that the Hunterian also makes a valuable contribution to life in Glasgow.

Similarly, the Hunterian Art Gallery has a superb collection of artworks from famous and influential artists, including James McNeill Whistler and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The Gallery also often hosts exhibitions of other renowned artists such as Rembrandt and Turner.

The Hunterian has recently expanded into Kelvin Hall. This new development will allow more of the Museum’s collection to be on show than ever before.

Glasgow Hunterian Museum

In fact, there will now be over 1 million items to interact with, either physically or via the digital portal. The expansion will grant access to new research and teaching labs, conservation studios, postgraduate study space, and research and seminar rooms.

This surely highlights just how valuable the Hunterian is to the University of Glasgow and its students, staff and researchers. The museum has helped Glasgow to stay as pioneering and relevant today as it was when it was founded during the Scottish Enlightenment, over 550 years ago. Having such an incredible resource right on campus is just one more reason to consider studying at the University of Glasgow.

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