Burrell Collection to reopen in March

The Burrell Collection will reopen in March following an ambitious building upgrade and redisplay.

The Warwick Vase being cleaned. Copyright © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collections
The Warwick Vase being cleaned. Copyright © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collections

As Kier Construction Scotland finishes work on the refurbishment of the A-listed building, based on designs from architects John McAslan + Partners, installation of the works of art has now begun.

Nearly half of the funding for the £68.25m project was committed by Glasgow City Council with significant contributions from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Scottish Government, the UK Government, and from many generous trusts and private donors.

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The first opening of The Burrell in 1983 was one of the first demonstrations of Glasgow’s commitment to cultural-led regeneration.

Councillor David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life and depute council leader said: “It’s wonderful to see that the installation of Sir William’s precious, beautiful and intriguing Collection has begun, now the delicate refurbishment of its home is almost at an end.

“This major refurbishment and redisplay will celebrate Sir William’s outstanding gift to the city and ensures it is at the heart of Glasgow’s cultural identity for the future, and having much more of The Collection on display and accessible will be one of its immediate successes.

“Sir William’s incredible legacy will help Glasgow and Scotland’s recovery from Covid-19, bringing increased pride and confidence, which has a tangible effect on our wellbeing. As we move out of a pandemic that is vital.”

Since The Burrell Collection closed to the public in October 2016, a comprehensive consultation programme has engaged with more than 15,000 local people, giving ideas, insights and opinions which have shaped every aspect of the redesign.

Works to the building began in 2018 with repairs to the roof and the installation of modern glazing making the building more air-tight, reducing its overall energy consumption. A combined heating and power supply has also been installed, contributing to the building’s BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating.

A new entrance will bring visitors straight into the heart of the building and a newly created central stairway will encourage people to explore all three floors of the reimagined Burrell Collection for the first time. The outdoor green space has been also been enhanced, creating new links between the museum and its stunning setting in Pollok Country Park.

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. New displays will give visitors a better understanding of the artworks, the people who made them and some of the people who have owned them.

Glasgow Life chief executive Dr Bridget McConnell added: “March 2022 will mark a historic milestone in Glasgow’s story, as the completely refurbished Burrell Collection reopens to the world.

“Very soon, thanks to all the project’s funders, these wonderful works of art, which Sir William Burrell gave to the people of Glasgow, will be enjoyed in a modern, green museum, fit for purpose and for the future.

“Our vision for The Burrell Collection demonstrates the city’s ambition for it to become more widely appreciated and well known around the world and for Glasgow to retain its place as a global cultural leader.”