After a five-year closure, The Burrell Collection in Glasgow will reopen to the public on March 29 after major refurbishment. The A-listed home of The Burrell Collection in Pollok Country Park is now a modern, greener museum that will show more of the Collection to visitors and give access to over a third more of the building.
Sir William Burrell devoted more than 75 years of his life to amassing, along with his wife, Constance, Lady Burrell, one of the world’s greatest personal art collections, renowned for its quality of Chinese art, exquisite stained glass, intricate tapestries as well as its breadth of fine art. The donation of the Collection to the city was described at the time by Principal of Glasgow University, Sir Hector Hetherington as: “One of the greatest gifts ever made to any city in the world.”
Having been closed since October 2016, the reopening is expected to reveal some impressive changes such as a 35% increase to the museum’s gallery space, allowing important and unique objects from the Collection, which have not been seen for decades, or have never been on permanent display, to go on show. There is also a new central stairway for visitors access the lower floor of The Burrell Collection for the first time, where they can watch items not on display being cared for.
New displays will give visitors a better understanding of the international significance of The Burrell Collection’s artworks and the people who made them and some of the people who have owned them. In total, there will be 225 displays spread across 24 galleries and the displays include innovative digital elements such as video walls, interactives and hybrid systems created to help people engage with the stories behind the Collection. In addition, a new temporary exhibition space has also been created, as well as galleries on upper floors which will take visitors to spaces in the building they have never seen before.
The Burrell Collection is home to the Wagner garden carpet which is one of the earliest surviving Persian garden carpets in the world, and has rarely been on public display since The Burrell Collection first opened in 1983. The museum’s refurbishment and redisplay means this priceless carpet will now be on long-term display, accompanied by new and innovative methods of interpretation.
Other highlights include Chinese pottery and porcelain produced over a 5,000-year period, making it one of the most significant collections of Chinese Art in Europe; paintings by renowned French artists including Manet, Cézanne and Degas; Medieval treasures including stained glass, arms and armour, and over 200 tapestries and 150 carpets, which are among the finest in the world.
The Burrell Collection’s refurbishment will also bring new visitors to Glasgow’s south side and to Pollok Country Park to enjoy a full day out. Pollok Country Park is Glasgow’s largest green space and is home to Pollok House, Pollok Stables and Sawmill which will be redeveloped, spectacular gardens, woodside walks and play areas.
Paths and roads have been improved; benches, new signage, vehicle barriers restricting access along the main through route in the centre of the park have been installed, and electric vehicle chargers, electric shuttle bus stops, and NextBike bikes and e-bikes will prioritise active travel.
Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life and Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council said: “The Burrell Collection is one of Glasgow’s greatest treasures which deserves much greater recognition and appreciation around the world.
“The refurbishment of its A-listed home, which itself, is one of Scotland’s modern architectural triumphs, as well as the innovative and engaging redisplay of the Collection will ensure visitors have an unforgettable experience and return time and again to appreciate the breath-taking beauty of the art on display. At the same time, the connection between the city and The Burrell Collection and Pollok Country Park will grow even stronger as a result of the museum reopening.”
Discover more about the Burrell Collection here.