An exciting proposal to transform Glasgow’s historic Kelvin Hall arena into a publicly accessible collections facility for Glasgow Museums and The Hunterian has received first stage approval from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The plan would see the creation of a safe and secure home for a combined 1.5 million treasures from Glasgow’s civic collection and those of The University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery.
The University of Glasgow and Glasgow Life are working together to develop the Kelvin Hall as a shared museum collections facility. As well as allowing public access to the city’s multiple museum collections, it will also provide facilities for research, learning, training and public engagement.
Kelvin Hall was home to the city’s Museum of Transport, before the Riverside Museum opened. Its international athletics track and leisure facilities – which this weekend are hosting the AVIVA International Match Athletics – are due to close with the opening of the Commonwealth Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. However, under the plans, a state-of-the-art Glasgow Club facility would be included as part of the refurbishment.
The unique partnership between Glasgow Life and the University of Glasgow will help to secure the future of the historic landmark and create a cultural quarter, connecting The Hunterian, Kelvingrove and the Riverside Museum. The National Library of Scotland’s Scottish Screen Archive will also be partners in the project.
Councillor George Redmond, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Glasgow is blessed with an abundance of cultural treasures and by working with our partner organisations, we now have an opportunity to safeguard these collections for future generations.
“At the heart of everything we do is a deep desire to ensure that the public can access their cultural legacy, investing in our shared heritage to increase knowledge and the city’s reputation as a global cultural capital.”
Co-locating all of its study collections at one venue for the first time, The Hunterian will create a Collections Study Centre for object-based research, teaching and training. A Centre for Cultural and Heritage Skills, a national hub for in-service training, staff development programmes and knowledge exchange will also be established by the partners.
Professor David Gaimster, Director of The Hunterian said: “Kelvin Hall will deliver The University of Glasgow’s strategic vision for The Hunterian as a leading global university museum service setting benchmarks in collections research, teaching, training and public engagement. This ambitious partnership between city and university is a first in the UK cultural sector.”
The new Kelvin Hall will revolve around a central orientation area and community heritage learning space, and will include seminar and conference facilities. An online portal will allow members of the public to search across the combined collections, opening up an enormous number of objects that are currently stored at various locations across the city.
In 2009, the final phase of the £21 million Glasgow Museums Resource Centre opened in Nitshill, providing one of Europe’s most modern and publicly accessible museum stores. The planned venture at Kelvin Hall will provide the final piece of the storage jigsaw and bring with it new opportunities for collaboration, with staff of all three organisations working together and sharing expertise and knowledge.
The new Glasgow Club facility will include a state-of-the-art fitness suite, five-a-side footballs pitches, sports halls, dance studios and spin studio.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council said: “Glasgow’s Museum Collection is regarded as being internationally significant and this partnership with the University of Glasgow would create an incredible facility that would open up these outstanding collections to more people and be a major addition to Glasgow’s cultural attractions. It is a plan that would also secure the future for what has become one of Glasgow’s best known and most loved buildings.”
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, commented: “The Kelvin Hall is a hugely popular building and much-loved by the people of Glasgow and further afield. This exciting project will breath new life into its vast interior and is a wonderful example of how different organisations are working together to create a new cultural hub for the city. We are delighted to give it our support at this stage.”
Notes to Editors
The application to the HLF for the Kelvin Hall Project is for £4.83 million.
Heritage Lottery Fund
A first-round pass means the project meets our criteria for funding and we believe it has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals.
However, a first-round pass does not guarantee the applicant will receive a grant although the chances of receiving a grant are high the second-round application will still be in competition for funding, and no money is set aside at this stage. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals.
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. To date it has invested over £500million in Scotland’s heritage.