The country’s oldest public museum, with one of the largest collections. It features regular temporary exhibitions, as well as permanent displays
The Hunterian is Scotland’s oldest public museum, housing one of the largest collections outside of the country’s national offerings.
Named after pioneering obstetrician, teacher and passionate hoarder Dr William Hunter (1718-1783), the Hunterian sits in the heart of Sir George Gilbert Scott’s neo-Gothic University of Glasgow building, and its treasures proudly reflect the university’s long and rich history of discovery, research and innovation. It includes everything from scientific instruments once owned by steam-engine father-figure James Watt, to ethnographic objects from Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages, a major art collection and one of the finest bodies of Roman material in Britain.
The museum also incorporates the Hunterian Art Gallery within the university library, as well as the Zoology Museum – housed in the Graham Kerr building and hosting a fabulous collection of insects, including William Hunter’s own bug array – and the awkward-looking Mackintosh House. Built in the 1960s on the site of the former home of Sir Charles Rennie Mackintosh (not designed by him, but in his honour), the modern concrete structure adjoining the university’s gallery-library complex remembers Glasgow’s most famous architect in fond, but precarious, style. Look out for the door that’s been radically displaced by excavation work and now hangs above a six-metre drop over what was once Hillhead Street.
A regular programme of special temporary exhibitions at the Hunterian has included the first complete 3D digital model of the long lost tomb of Scottish King Robert the Bruce (1274-1329), a look at Scottish gold from mining to old coinage and treasures, and a groundbreaking scholarly examination of one of European art’s true greats, ‘Rembrandt and the Passion’.
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University of Glasgow
Gilbert Scott Building
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