{Scotland} The Burrell Collection

June 17, 2013

Scotland

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I was actually in Scotland the past two weeks, but I had scheduled some posts for you on Museum Diary while I was away. Of course we visited some museums during our holiday in Scotland, and now that I’m back I can’t wait to tell you about them.

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We spent the first week in Glasgow visiting family, with a two day trip to the Trossachs for our friends’ wedding in between, and one place we’ve always wanted to visit was the Burrell Collection. We made an attempt to go there several years ago but couldn’t figure out the public transport and ended up at St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life instead, which is also a great place to visit by the way. But back to the Burrell Collection. Well, we got a lift there and back from my sister-in-law, so we still don’t know how to get there by public transport, but at least this time we made it.

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‘The Burrell’, as it is known as, is named after the shipping magnate and philanthropist Sir William Burrell (1861-1958), who was an enthusiastic collector of everything from Islamic, Chinese and European art, religious statues and modern sculpture, to medieval weapons and armour, antique furniture, stained glass, tapestries, Chinese ceramics and artefacts from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. In fact, totalling over 8000 objects, his collection is one of the largest ever created by one single person. If you like a museum that has a bit of everything, then The Burrell is definitely for you!

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Burrell donated his collection to the City of Glasgow in 1944, under the condition that it be housed in a rural setting. It took until 1983 for the museum to open, after the city council acquired Pollock Country Park – 3 miles from Glasgow’s city centre – and had a custom-build museum developed, though like with many museums, only a portion of the collection is on display. Some particularly nice features of the building include the historic doorways built into the museum’s structure, and the large glass walls giving an open view in to the surrounding park.

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In terms of taking kids to the museum, we noticed too late that there were activity packs you could sign out, but we still had fun having imaginary tea in the Chinese tea house and copying some of the statues. The cafe also does a great deal on a kid’s packed lunch menu (which includes a sandwich, fruit, yoghurt, juice and a treat) and there’s a fantastic playground nearby in Pollock Country Park.

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The Burrell is open daily except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and 1 and 2 January. Admission is free, and apparently you can get there by train or by bus (details on the museum’s website).

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