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Article published 08/02/2022

Glasgow Life has confirmed that The Burrell Collection in Glasgow will reopen to the public on Tuesday 29 March 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.

The Collection

Sir William Burrell devoted more than 75 years of his life to amassing one of the world’s greatest personal art collections along with his wife Constance, Lady Burrell. The Collection is 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 Glasgow was described at the time as one of the greatest gifts ever made to any city in the world by Sir Hector Hetherington, Principal of Glasgow University.

The Scottish Parliament passed a bill in 2014 which would allow international loans of objects from and to The Burrell Collection. Nearly 30 venues around the UK and across the world hosted art from The Burrell while its home was refurbished. Included were loans to New York’s Metropolitan Museum, the Musée de Cluny in Paris and several cities in Japan including Tokyo. Over a million people were able to enjoy artworks in the Collection through the tour.  

Details of the refurbishment

Nearly half of the funding for the £68.25 million project was committed by Glasgow City Council with more than a quarter coming from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and significant donations from The Scottish Government, the UK Government, and from many generous trusts and private donors.

On reopening, the museum’s gallery space will have increased by 35%, 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.

A new central stairway will allow visitors access to the lower floor of The Burrell Collection for the first time where they can watch items not on display being cared for. A new temporary exhibition space has also been created. Similarly new galleries have been created on upper floors which will take visitors to spaces in the building they have never seen before.

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 225 displays will spread across 24 galleries. 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.

Setting new sustainability standards

The museum’s environmental performance has been enhanced by greatly improving the building’s exterior through a new roof, glazing and cladding, and by replacing power, heating and lighting systems with more efficient and sustainable technologies. Find out more about the refurbishment aimed to set new standards for sustainability in museums.

Since The Burrell Collection closed to the public in October 2016, a comprehensive consulation programme has engaged with more than 15,000 local people who have given their ideas, insights and opinions. This input has shaped every aspect of the redesign of the building, access to it and the development of the new displays, galleries and spaces within and around the museum.

Pollok Country Park, which is home to The Burrell Collection, has an Active Travel Management Plan which has been developed alongside the building refurbishment. It improves access to The Burrell Collection and wider park for visitors travelling by public transport, bike or on foot, delivers an improved path network and associated signage, bike hire and bike racks, an electric shuttle bus, as well as electric car charging points.

The Burrell Collection is a place where everyone is welcome to appreciate one of the greatest personal collections ever assembled, housed in one of Scotland’s favourite modern buildings. Its A-listed home has been repaired and upgraded, its environmental performance has been dramatically improved, new displays have been created and thousands of local people were consulted about what they wanted to see. Visitors will be able to see more of the collection, more of the building itself and spend more time in Pollok Country Park. We look forward to welcoming the world to enjoy this spectacular museum.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council

The reopening of The Burrell Collection is another compelling reason for people to come to Glasgow to visit. It will be the catalyst for more people to visit the wonderful Pollok Country Park and other attractions on the south side of the city and to enjoy the glory of The Collection and its magnificent home. The Burrell Collection stands among the finest personal collections ever amassed and will bring people back many times to see it in the years to come.

Dr Bridget McConnell CBE, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life

The opening of The Burrell in 1983 was one of the first demonstrations of Glasgow’s commitment to culture-led regeneration. By harnessing the power of its incredible cultural draw, Glasgow has positioned itself as one of the world’s great cultural and creative cities, making it a must-visit destination. Find out more information about the refurbishment and reopening on the new The Burrell Collection website.

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