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The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum: A Celebration of Art, Natural History, and Scotland

There are many fantastic museums in Scotland, but I have to say that the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow must be one of my favourites. We continue our ongoing museum series in this week’s blog post, and I’m excited to finally share some highlights from our visit. While we love conducting walking tours of Edinburgh, we also relish the chance to travel around Scotland in order to fulfil our motto- explore and discover. Therefore, on our relatively recent spring holiday, we took a day to head over to Glasgow to check out this wonderful museum.

The Kelvingrove Museum sits elegantly in the west end of Glasgow right next to Kelvingrove Park. The outside architecture is absolutely stunning with its warm sandstone and gorgeous Spanish Baroque style. Make sure to take the time to walk around the building as it deserves to be thoroughly appreciated.

Greetings from Dippy

Walking into the Kelvingrove Museum is quite a breathtaking experience. The Centre Hall magnificently welcomes and introduces visitors in the best way possible. Normally the centre piece of this part of the museum is the concert pipe organ that looms overhead. And we were fortunate to hear a lovely mini concert the day we visited. The acoustics are excellent, and we enjoyed listening to the organist play songs from Les Misérables.

However, on this day, we were first greeted by Dippy the Dinosaur. Dippy is a plaster cast replica of the original Dippy skeleton which is on display at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History (famously founded by Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie). Dippy’s original home was at the British Museum, but he now travels around the United Kingdom sharing his greatness with others. In fact, Dippy left the Kelvingrove on the 6th of May and will next greet fans at the Great North Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne in England.

As I have done in past blog posts from our museum series, my intention for this article is to feature some of the highlights I particularly enjoyed at the Kelvingrove. That way you can get a taste of what it has to offer but will hopefully visit on your own when you are here in Scotland. Of course, the best place to find out more information on visiting the Kelvingrove can be found on their website.

Celebrating Natural History, Ancient Egypt, and Mackintosh

The Museum houses a fantastic array of natural history items. Some of my favourites include the Canadian moose and totem pole as well as the majestic Scottish wildlife. It was particularly fun to watch the joy and excitement that the various animals on display brought to the children visiting the Museum. As an interesting side note to parents of young children, the Museum offers some nice interactive features. One particularly fascinating feature was that there are ‘tunnels’ underneath the platforms where the wildlife animals are displayed. Small children can crawl from one section to the next as they explore this part of the Museum.

Another favourite of mine should not surprise regular readers of the blog- the Ancient Egypt section. For those of you who have not read it, please check out my blog post on Ancient Egypt which is one of the National Museum of Scotland’s latest galleries. I love anything to do with this time period in history, and the Kelvingrove’s gallery does not disappoint! The mummy on display was particularly interesting, and this gallery will certainly satisfy any Egyptology fan.

What would a visit to Glasgow be without seeing some of their native son’s, Rennie Mackintosh's, work? The Kelvingrove is known for their Mackintosh and Glasgow Style gallery and they have a variety of works of art and furniture displaying this famous style. Additionally, the Museum also has an impressive collection of art from the world-renowned Glasgow Boys. For those who may not know, they were a group of artists that provided a significant contribution to the art world at the end of the 19th century. According to the Museum, “they put Glasgow on the cultural map and encouraged following generations of Scottish artists to have confidence in their own abilities and to be open to new developments in art”.

An Art Lover’s Dream

As a lifelong student and admirer of art history, I was particularly excited to not only take in the works of the Glasgow Boys, but also other artists from around the world. The Kelvingrove has a delightful array of paintings and art pieces, and it definitely had me in my ‘happy place’. Of note is Salvador Dali’s, Christ of St John by the Cross. This Surrealist work of art was stunning and neither words nor pictures do it justice. The Museum also features such famous artists as Gauguin, Monet, Picasso, and van Gogh.

One sculpture overlooking the Centre Hall caught my eye as it was none other than our long-term, and reoccurring blog ‘guest’- Robert Louis Stevenson (read more about RLS here, here, or here)! I was delightfully surprised to spot the beautiful sculpture, and it is always fun to have RLS ‘sightings’ all over Scotland. His impact here cannot be denied.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to see some of Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic artwork throughout France and the United States. Therefore, I was thrilled when I heard that the Kelvingrove was offering a free special exhibit of his exquisite drawings. Unfortunately, this exhibit is no longer at the Kelvingrove. However, if you didn’t get a chance to see them, don’t fret because if you are here in Scotland this November (2019) you still have a chance to see some of da Vinci’s work. According to the Museum, there will be a selection of 80 drawings that will be on exhibit at the Queen’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse here in Edinburgh.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed our brief trip to Glasgow. We, here at Wee Walking Tours, aim to provide comprehensive and useful information for you when you are visiting Scotland. Therefore, when you book one of our walking tours, you will find that we enjoy helping you by providing recommendations, not just for Edinburgh, but other key tourist spots as well. That is why we try to spend as much free time as possible travelling throughout Scotland- so we can provide you with valuable first-hand information. It’s a research burden that we’ll just have to endure 😊.

Until next time- Explore & Discover!

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