When it comes to museums, Glasgow’s – or the discerning tourist – are spoiled for choice.
Whether you love ancient Egypt or Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum will meet all your cultural needs. If your interests are more local, try the People’s Palace for a citizen’s look at how Glasgow has changed over the centuries. And if it all sounds too much like school, Europe’s only football museum can be found here in Hampden Park.
But maybe you’ve exhausted all the usual options – or maybe you have some nice niche interests. Whether you’re looking for a quirky day out or a particularly memorable first date, why not take a look at some of the weirdest museums and collections in and around Glasgow?
1. The Hunterian Museum
You’ll need a strong stomach if the Hunterian is on your list, but it’s worth it. Named after the 18th century scientist who donated his personal collection of scientific instruments, anatomical models and insects to the University of Edinburgh, it has over the years become a world-class institution for the strange and the wonderful, including a zoological museum and an art gallery.
2. Glasgow Police Museum
What is going on here then? It is fitting that the town which saw the first British police force patrolling its streets also has a museum dedicated to the fight against crime. This award-winning museum has everything from vintage police cars to stories about some of Glasgow’s worst criminals.
3. Grove of fossils
Listen, anyone can go to a forest – there are 307 in Scotland alone. But how often do you have the opportunity to walk through a forest where the trees are 330 million years old? Located in Victoria Park, you can explore eleven fossil tree stumps from the Carboniferous Period, discovered in 1857.
4. Museum of Religious Life and Art of Saint Mongoose
Named after Glasgow’s patron saint, it is built on the site of a medieval episcopal castle and “aims to promote understanding and respect between people of different faiths and those of none”.
5. The Burrell Collection
An eclectic and breathtaking art collection, it includes the UK’s most important collections of Chinese art, medieval treasures including stained glass, weapons and armor, and over 200 tapestries. But you’ll have to wait until 2022 to visit it – it’s undergoing a massive Â£ 68million redevelopment.
6. Scottish Mask and Puppet Center
You might want to avoid this one if you suffer from automatonophobia – the fear of human-shaped figurines. It has an impressive array of masks and puppets from different cultures around the world that shed light on a fascinating, albeit overlooked, aspect of Scottish theater.
7. The secret collection
Renfrewshire Museums have an impressive collection of artifacts – so impressive, in fact, that they had to create a whole new section to house them. And what could be better than on Paisley High Street? These are the first publicly accessible museum archives on a main street in the UK, but they like to keep a certain mystique about them. The collection includes some of Paisley’s world-famous textiles, as well as a mix of ceramics, world cultures, social history, art and sculpture, natural history and local archives – many of which are n have not been seen by the public for decades. Tours are free, but due to the secure nature of the collection, you will not be able to view it without a guide.