Travel Tuesdays: Guide to Glasgow’s Best Museums

Although I’ve been posting a lot of travel writing lately, unfortunately life isn’t all jetting off to Europe, wandering around beautiful sights and taking endless photos. (Although sometimes I can’t help but wish it was!) But as I mentioned in my blog post How To Be A Tourist in Your Own Cityyou don’t have to be travelling all the time to appreciate the culture and history around you. I love of my home city of Glasgow, but I rarely explore it in the way that it deserves – can you believe that I hadn’t even been to half of the top Tripadvisor attractions since I was a child? So part of my (belated) New Years’ Resolutions is to make more effort to be a tourist now and then.  Welcome to the first part of my Glasgow Guides: a selection of three of the best museums the city has to offer!

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Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh – ‘Oh ye, all ye that walk in Willowood’

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

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This was probably the easiest choice. Everyone loves Kelvingrove. Just look at how beautiful it is! Although there’s plenty of impressive statistics to back up its claim of being one of Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions – it contains over 8000 objects, including Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John on the Cross (which is apparently a big deal) – I have to say that that’s not why I love it. I love it because of the tiny pretend chapel that plays the most moving choral music. I love it because it houses one of my absolute favourite artworks of all time, Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh’s Oh Ye, All Ye That Walk in Willowwood. I love it because I was obsessed with the Ancient Egypt exhibition when I was a child. I love it because I can’t resist a selfie with the bust of Queen Victoria. I love it, because I’ve walked past the French Impressionists and Dutch paintings of fire and astonishing Scottish landscapes so many times that they’ve begun to feel like old friends. (Saying all that, though, I still can’t make it out of the building without getting lost!) Currently it’s hosting a very inspiring exhibition of Alphonse Mucha’s art – go forth and wander!

Scotland Street School Museum

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Image credit: http://www.scotcities.com (I couldn’t find my own photo!)

Yes, sorry, more sentimentality here. I LOVED this museum when I was a child – it inspired many short stories never to be revealed in public. The museum is – as you can probably guess – a former school which was designed by Scotland’s own art obsession Charles Rennie Mackintosh. There are classrooms designed to look like originals from the Victorian era, Second World War and the 1950s and, for children, there’s even the opportunity to dress up in period-appropriate uniform and wear a dunce cap. There’s also fascinating exhibitions on the history of the school and the history of Scottish education in general, as well as authentic toys for children to play with around the playground. Walking around here is seriously like walking around my childhood and it’s such a brilliant, inspiring space.

Glasgow Museum of Modern Art (GOMA)

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I was a bit hesitant about adding this one here because I’m not particularly enamoured of modern art but, even if you think it’s all shit and something that your five year old DEFINITELY could have done, it’s worth the experience anyway. Although I definitely prefer the sort of *pretty* paintings that are more immediately striking, I find it fascinating looking at the descriptions next to the pieces of modern art (which can be anything from a nondescript sculpture to strange fuzzy video sequences) and gaining insight into why an object was created, and what it precisely signifies. GOMA has several floors of galleries – on my last visit there was one floor entirely dedicated to women’s voices – so it’s always worth a look!

I have more museums to tick off my 2017 bucket list, so there will be a follow-up post soon exploring even more of Glasgow’s wonderful museums. Do you have any other museum recommendations in the Glasgow area? Have you been to any of these, and if so what did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts – let me know in the comments below! 🙂 

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