- Glasgow University
- Hunterian Museum

The Scotland Guide
© David Williams


This is Scotland`s oldest public museum and it is based on the wide-ranging collections of William Hunter (1718-83). Hunter was a student here from 1731 to 1736, then attended medical classes in Edinburgh. After that, he moved to London and began a distinguished (and exceptionally lucrative) career in medicine, specialising in anatomy, surgery and midwifery. During this time he gathered together a large and wide-ranging collection of medical specimens, books, coins, paintings and other artefacts which he later bequeathed to the university, together with money to build a museum at the Old College. Hunter`s art collection forms the basis of the university`s Hunterian Art Gallery.

The museum`s first room (which has massive windows overlooking University Avenue) has a wide variety of exhibits, many of them associated with work undertaken at the university. The exhibits on display change from time to time and include items used by Hunter and other academics, such as Lord Kelvin, who worked here.

The design of the main hall is itself a masterpiece, with tall decorated cast-iron pillars supporting a gallery and a fine barrel-vaulted ceiling. The museum has a wide collection of artefacts to draw on and these are used as museum exhibits, for teaching and for research. The sections of the collection are arranged chronologically, using the massive expanse of time from early geological time to the (comparatively-recent) Roman occupation. The museum`s ethnographic and historic collections are used to illustrate many of the displays.

This article is based on the guidebook "The Glasgow Guide".

The Hunterian Museum is sited at the back of the university`s Main Buildings. The first room occupies the top half of the large round tower near the centre of this picture. The other galleries are to the left and right of this.

The exhibition of coins and medals is based on Hunter`s impressive collection. One particular exhibit which has an association with the university is the Nobel Peace Prize medal awarded to Lord John Boyd Orr in 1949.

Further details about the building can be found in "The Glasgow Guide".
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