Kelvin Hall lands the jackpot

David Santamaria Legarda

The Kelvin Hall has been awarded a £4.57 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to refurbish the space into a museum and sports centre for the community.

This grant will provide around 8% of the estimated £60 million that will be needed to remodel Kelvin Hall. It’s a joint project between Glasgow University, the National Library of Scotland and Glasgow Life, the City Council body in charge of culture and sport.

The Hall will provide a safer and more accessible home to the more than 1.5 million objects, which the Hunterian and other Glasgow museums currently have in storage. The collections will be available to the public through a joint online catalogue.

Kelvin Hall will also be the headquarters of the Hunterian Study Centre, a fully equipped conservation and research institute of new creation. Professor David Gaimster, Director of the Hunterian, commented: “This unique multi-partner museum facility at Kelvin Hall will become an international hub for collections research, teaching and learning. The creation of the Hunterian Collections Study Centre at its heart will raise a new benchmark around the world in museum practice and public engagement with collections.”

This first stage of the project is expected to conclude in 2016. The second phase, due for completion by 2020, will open new public galleries in the Hall. The aim is to make the new exhibitions more interactive and open to the city. Collections are currently on display across the Gilmorehill campus, including in the Mackintosh House, Graham Kerr building and the Thomson Building.

The revamped Hall will also keep the National Library’s Scottish Screen Archive and Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s only remaining interior suite, designed for Mrs Cranston’s Ingram Street tearooms.

Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena had been home to University sport activities since 1988 until the last academic year. Students from the twelve sport clubs that trained there had to move when works started in July 2013.

This refurbishment aims to transform the West End into a major museum quarter with the new Kelvin Hall joining other cultural references as the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, the Hunterian Museum and the nearby Riverside Museum of Transport, whose collections where shown in Kelvin Hall until 2010.