Kelvin Hall on track for autumn opening

Kelvin Hall GlasgowThe £35 million transformation of Glasgow’s Kelvin hall into one of the biggest museum and academic research centres in the UK is on target to open in the autumn.

Formerly home to the Museum of Transport, the facility will offer teaching and research rooms for the University of Glasgow, and vast new storage areas are being prepared to house around 1.5 million items from the Hunterian Museum, currently spread across nine separate sites. It will also provide access to the National Library of Scotland’s Moving Image Archive and digital collections.

The phase-one development will also see a health and fitness centre at the site, incorporating an eight-court, multi-purpose sports hall, a gymnastics and martial arts hall and the city’s largest fitness gym.

The redevelopment, which is being led by Barr Construction, is due to be completed by the summer and is expected to officially open in the autumn.

The project is a joint partnership between Glasgow University, the Hunterian, Glasgow Museums, the National Library of Scotland and Glasgow Club.

Professor David Gaimster, director of the Hunterian, said: “The Kelvin Hall Phase 1 project is going to enable us to bring together all of our collections, 1.5 million objects and specimens, that are now in nine different storage facilities which are very inaccessible, and bring this incredible asset dating back to The Enlightenment, and not only create new access for educational audiences including the University of Glasgow but also connect collections which have been entirely fragmented for more than 200 years.

“For The Hunterian, Phase 1 of the development is the foothold and should give us the business case to eventually create a new Hunterian in the next few years as part of Phase 2. In the meantime, The Hunterian public galleries will remain where they currently are.”

Professor Murray Pittock, added: “Kelvin Hall is a hugely exciting and unique project which brings together for the first time anywhere in the world civic organisations, higher education and national organisations under one roof.

Kelvin Hall opened as an exhibition centre in 1927 and was used for musical performances before becoming a sports arena and home to Glasgow’s Museum of Transport.

Over the years it has hosted major sports events including the 1990 European Indoor Athletics Championships.

A planned second phase of redevelopment will turn a 16,000sq m hall, once occupied by the Transport Museum, into a new home for the Hunterian museum by 2020.

The redevelopment is being funded by Glasgow City Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Scottish Government, Glasgow University and Historic Scotland.

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