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Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery

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Title: Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery  
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Subject: University of Glasgow, 1783 Great Meteor, Glasgow art, St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Collection: 1807 Establishments in Scotland, Art Museums and Galleries in Glasgow, Biographical Museums in Scotland, Category a Listed Buildings in Glasgow, Egyptological Collections in Scotland, History Museums in Scotland, Infrastructure Completed in 1807, Listed Museum Buildings in Scotland, Medical Museums in Scotland, Museums Established in 1807, Museums in Glasgow, Museums of Ancient Greece, Museums of Ancient Rome in the United Kingdom, Natural History Museums in Scotland, Science and Technology in Glasgow, Science Museums in Scotland, University Museums in the United Kingdom, University of Glasgow, William Whitfield Buildings
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Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery

The University of Glasgow's Hunterian is the oldest museum in Scotland. It covers The Hunterian Museum, The Hunterian Art Gallery, The Mackintosh House, The Zoology Museum and The Anatomy Museum, all located in various buildings on the main campus of the University in the west end of Glasgow.


  • History 1
  • The museum and gallery's current facilities 2
    • The Hunterian Museum 2.1
    • The Zoology Museum 2.2
    • The Hunterian Art Gallery 2.3
    • The Mackintosh House 2.4
  • Exhibitions 3
  • Other Hunterian museums 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


William Hunter (1718 – 1783), anatomist and collector

In 1783, William Hunter bequeathed his substantial and varied collections to the University of Glasgow. (Hunter, writing to Dr William Cullen) They were "to be well and carefully packed up and safely conveyed to Glasgow and delivered to the Principal and Faculty of the College of Glasgow to whom I give and bequeath the same to be kept and preserved by them and their successors for ever... in such sort, way, manner and form as ... shall seem most fit and most conducive to the improvement of the students of the said University of Glasgow."

The museum first opened in 1807, in a specially constructed building off the High Street,[1] adjoining the original campus of the University.[2] When the University moved west to its new site at Glasgow University Library. Hunter’s anatomical collections are housed in the Allen Thomson Building, and his pathological preparations at the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow

The money to build the museum, and the core of its original collections, came from the bequest of the Scottish anatomist and scientist William Hunter, who died in London in 1783. As well as his medical collections, which arose from his own work, Hunter collected very widely, often assisted by his many royal and aristocratic patrons. He and his agents scoured Europe for coins, minerals, paintings and prints, ethnographic materials, books and manuscripts, as well as insects and other biological specimens. Hunter's eclectic bequest forms the core of the collections, but have grown considerably, and now include some of the most important collections of work by artists such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh and James McNeill Whistler, as well as superb geological, zoological, anatomical, archaeological, ethnographic and scientific instrument collections.

The Hunterian Museum re-opened in September 2011 featuring a new permanent gallery devoted to the Romans in Scotland and new opening hours of 10:00-5:00 Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00-4:00 Sundays and closed Monday.[3]

The museum and gallery's current facilities

The collections of the museum are distributed across a number of buildings around the campus:

The Hunterian Museum

Housed in large halls in Roman Scotland (especially the Antonine Wall, geology, ethnography, ancient Egypt, scientific instruments, coins and medals, and much more.

The Zoology Museum

Most of the zoology collections, including those of William Hunter, are displayed in a separate museum within the Graham Kerr building, which also houses most of the University's zoological research and teaching. This is also open to the general public. The insect collections are particularly important and extensive, and are the feature of some excellent recent displays.

The Hunterian Art Gallery

1807 painting in oils by Peter Paillou (the younger) of Professor of Divinity Robert Findlay (1721-1814). Hunterian Art Gallery.

The Gallery is now housed in a modern, custom-built facility that is part of the extensive Glasgow University Library complex, designed by William Whitfield.[4] This displays the University's extensive art collection, and features an outdoor sculpture garden. The bas relief aluminium doors to the Hunterian Gallery were designed by sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi. The gallery's collection includes a large number of the works of James McNeill Whistler and the majority of the watercolours of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The Hunterian Art Gallery reopened in September 2012 after a refurbishment, with an exhibition dedicated to Rembrandt, Rembrandt and the Passion.[5]

The Mackintosh House

Mackintosh House, with Hunterian Art Gallery behind it

The Mackintosh House is a modern concrete building, part of the gallery-library complex. It stands on the site of one of two rows of terraced houses which were once sections of Hillhead Street and Southpark Avenue, demolished in the 1960s to make room for the University's expansion across the residential crown of Gilmorehill. One of the buildings lost, 78 Southpark Avenue, was formerly a home to Glasgow architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh (although Mackintosh himself did not design it). The University rebuilt the form of the house (using modern materials) approximately 100 metres from the site of the original. Due to its displacement, one door now hangs precariously above a 20-foot (6.1 m) drop, the ground on what was once Hillhead Street having been radically excavated during the construction. The Mackintosh House features some of the original woodwork of the old terraced house, and features the meticulously reassembled interiors from Mackintosh's home.


Current and future exhibitions [1]

Other Hunterian museums

William Hunter's brother John, a surgeon, also founded a museum; the London museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, also known as the Hunterian Museum, is based on his collection. The museum displays thousands of anatomical specimens, including the Evelyn tables and the skeleton of the "Irish giant" Charles Byrne, and many surgical instruments. It underwent a major refurbishment in 2003 and 2004, creating a new "crystal" gallery of steel and glass.

Both brothers are celebrated in the town of their birth, East Kilbride, at the small Hunter House Museum.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Keppie, Lawrence. William Hunter and the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow. Edinburgh University Press. 2007. Chapter 4
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Sir William Whitfield". Oxford Index. OUP. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Hunterian - Opening hours". University of Glasgow. Retrieved January 2012. 

External links

  • The Hunterian's website
  • The Hunterian's searchable online catalogue

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