Royal Opening for Riverside Museum
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Royal Opening for Riverside Museum

The Riverside Museum, Glasgow’s new Museum of Transport and Travel has received its Royal Opening. The Princess Royal visited the museum to meet some of the hundreds of people who built Glasgow’s latest civic museum and unveiled a plaque. Already, more than 900,000 visitors have passed through the Riverside Museum since it opened in June.
The Riverside Museum houses more than 3,000 exhibits, in over 150 interactive displays telling the stories of the people who made the term ‘Clyde Built’ one which travelled the world and spoke volumes about unbeatable quality. From massive steam locomotives, to the recreation of a city street during the 1900s, the cathedral-like structure provides a stunning backdrop to showcase the innovation and ambition of what was the ‘Second City of the Empire’
The Riverside Museum was designed by Zaha Hadid, arguably the world’s most in-demand architect. The £74 million museum is Hadid’s first major public commission to open in the UK. It has been funded by Glasgow City Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Riverside Museum Appeal. Like all of Glasgow’s civic museums, entry is free.
Outside, The Tall Ship Glenlee is moored in front of the museum’s dramatic south façade, bringing her together, for the very first time, with the city’s unrivalled ship model collection, and creating a dramatic and iconic international destination. The Glenlee is one of only five Clyde-built sailing vessels afloat in the world today and the only one in the UK. The Tall Ship which recently underwent a £1.5m refurbishment also opened to the public on June 21.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, the Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The Riverside Museum has been a phenomenal success and we’re delighted to welcome Princess Anne to give the royal seal of approval to Glasgow’s latest attraction.
“In less than six months, more than 940,000 visitors have passed through the doors which proves once again that Glasgow’s cultural ambitions are not only a key economic driver but an indication of our determination to be an attractive, truly global destination.”
The Lord Provost of Glasgow, Councillor Bob Winter, who is also the Lord Lieutenant of Glasgow, said: “The people of Glasgow have taken the Riverside Museum to their hearts and it is a great honour to have the Princess Royal on hand to officially open our latest cultural gem. Glasgow is home to one of the finest civic collections in northern Europe and Glaswegians are rightly proud of the treasure trove we possess.
“We are truly rich in our heritage. Where else could you wander a few hundred yards and enjoy the treasures of ancient Egypt, Old Masters and Glasgow Boys, before enjoying our latest attraction on the banks of the Clyde?”
Lord Smith of Kelvin, the Chairman of the Riverside Museum Appeal, said: “The response to the fundraising appeal has been tremendous, during very difficult and turbulent economic times. The Royal opening marks the completion of the fundraising effort and I want to thank the trustees who have given so freely their time and effort to help raise an incredible £4.6 million toward the Riverside Museum.”
More than 1,200 people worked on the project, since it was given the initial go-ahead in 2002 and work on-site at the historic Pointhouse Quay, began in 2007. The main contractors, BAM, described the building of the massive, 2,500 tonnes steel roof, without any internal supporting columns, as the most challenging engineering feat in the UK at the time. An additional 3,000 people worked on the various construction contracts to build the museum and quayside public realm.
Councillor George Redmond, the Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “I want to thank everyone who made this outstanding project such a tremendous success. Their vision and passion has turned an industrial wasteland into shining beacon on the Clyde, which celebrates the skill and ingenuity of generations of Glaswegians. I have no doubt that generations more will value their work in the years ahead.”
The museum reveals the rich and varied stories of Glasgow’s great achievements and vibrant spirit; of technological breakthroughs and heartbreaking tragedies; of local heroes and global giants. Many of these tales are told through audiovisual displays, hands-on interactive and digital touch screens. The displays will be accessible and many are designed to engage children and young people and to give a better experience for disabled visitors.
The museum’s major attractions have been designed and built into the structure of the building – with some arriving before the completion of the structure, such is their size. Highlights include, the Wall of Cars, the hanging Bicycle Velodrome, South African Locomotive, No9 Tank Engine, Motorbike Deck, the Rest and Be Thankful, and re-created period streets.
As well as the old, there are more recent star attractions, including Graeme Obree’s hand-made bikes which made him a world-champion and the late Colin McRae’s Subaru Impreza that he drove to win the World Rally Car Championship. Danny MacAskill became a YouTube sensation after the release of his terrifying video Way Back Home. At the museum, visitors can see the bike made famous through gravity defying stunts and social media. ​
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