The History of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow
One of Glasgow’s most iconic buildings is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, a symbol of the West End nestled between the park, the River Kelvin and the University of Glasgow.
The original museum opened in 1876 in Kelvingrove House, a nearby mansion which originally housed the town’s Lord Provost Patrick Colquhoun.
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum as we know it today opened in 1901 for the Glasgow International Exhibition. Its design is inspired by the Spanish Baroque style but remains faithful to the local traditions of using red sandstone.
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During the exhibition, the beloved organ was installed in the concert hall. At the end of the exhibition, a councilor would have urged their bosses to keep it, because without it “the art gallery would be a body without a soul”. Today, the daily recitals are one of the most popular attractions.
Anyone who has visited the museum or even walked through it may notice something unusual: that the rear entrance is much larger than the front.
This created the urban myth that the building was accidentally built upside down and the architect was so disappointed in the final product that he jumped to his death from one of the towers.
This is wrong, and it was actually intended for the most beautiful entrance overlooking the park.
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After a major multi-million pound refurbishment, the museum was reopened by the late Queen Elizabeth in 2006 and the following year recorded 2.23 million visitors, making Kelvingrove the country’s most visited tourist spot in outside of London.
Today, you can explore 22 galleries of artwork, stuffed animals, and artifacts. Highlights include an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus, Salvador Dali’s Christ of Saint John on the Cross, and the famous floating heads of Sophie Cave.