On visiting it after re-opening I had bits which I liked, bits I found odd, bits that I missed from before, but it is clear that refurbishment was overdue. However, in the past I had been in and out the Art Galleries often, alone or with my children, with the new improved version I didn't have that same draw to keep returning. There can be few tourists who visit Glasgow and don't drag themselves along to the Art Galleries to look around. So visiting there today I tried to visualise it through their eyes, imagining that I was a tourist with a couple of children in tow (that part I didn't have to imagine). Would I be entertained, enlightened, impressed or - heaven forbid - disappointed?
This is important as museums in Glasgow previously run by the council are now run by Glasgow Life, an operating name of Culture and Sport Glasgow whose stated aims include a plan...
All very laudable, but once these museums are opened, they need to stay open (eg not closed on Mondays, or opening as late as 11am as the gaggle of foreign tourists and me found today outside Kelvingrove as we clutched the locked bars begging to be let in). Once inside you expect the "dedicated IT stations" to work, the exhibits and hands-on bits to entertain children to work. Otherwise you leave a disappointed tourist thinking that this city doesn't care about art, museums, history, looking after young visitors, etc. That is what I would think as a visitor to Kelvingrove today, and it makes me fear for the future of the Riverside Museum once it opens the doors to let us in.
In the last four weeks I've been to the Scottish Maritime Museum in Dumbarton, Tate Liverpool, The Merseyside Maritime Museum, The International Slavery Museum, The Lady Lever Art Gallery and Hill House in Helensburgh. In not ONE of these places can I remember seeing broken displays, closed rooms for staffing problems out of order computers and interactive exhibits. If they can do it, why can't we! Here are some tourist snaps I took today...
|Several touchscreen exhibits were out of order|
|Half the PCs or "dedicated IT stations" were out of order|
|Peacock removed because of "infestation" 2 years ago! Time to just destroy the bird and take the label away now?|
|Lots of hands-on stations like this had ALL the bits missing|
|Broken camera, will be fixed by...tomorrow. Not|
|Kids can try to make this chair, with 2 missing pieces and tatty seat.|
|Another broken machine|
|Most of the bits missing on this Egyptian exhibition|
|Flooring taped up rather than repaired in numerous places|
|Several flaps children are to lift up are missing, this one shows a bent and torn picture underneath|
|I don't think this was ever working for long, finally getting the chuck rather than repaired/ maintained|
|More broken computers|
|Flooring like this in several places 6 years after refurbishment.|