Glasgow gallery is built for learning

7th July 2006 at 01:00
More than 1,000 teachers visited the newly refurbished Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum this week ahead of its official opening on Tuesday. The preview last Monday focused on the new child-friendly features at the 105-year-old building, which has been renovated and refurbished at a cost of nearly pound;30 million.

Kelvingrove will open to the public next week for the first time in three years and primary and secondary schools across the country have already booked 250 workshops. Sue Latimer, Kelvingrove's senior education and access curator, said that the exhibits had been grouped in themes designed to complement the curriculum. The language used in the information about the exhibits had also been made more straightforward.

There are new interactive areas and an "object" cinema with audio-visual information about life in the Arctic.

The number of teachers attending the event was said to be unprecedented for a preview. Those Glasgow teachers who spoke to The TES Scotland were delighted with the new look.

* Hazel Ralston, nursery class two teacher at Anderston primary

"It is much more child-friendly. The information is displayed at a child's level and the language is much simpler. The way it is set out now will make the exhibits mean a lot more to children.

"I would use the galleries in a number of ways. The exhibits are applicable to a number of different subjects and I think even very young children will enjoy it now.

"I was really pleased to see the Dali again. I've liked it ever since I first came here as a child with my parents."

* Andrew Robson, primary 1 teacher at St James' primary

"Our school has already booked three of the workshops. The collections here are mainly useful for teaching the expressive arts but they are relevant to teaching history as well, particularly the history of Glasgow.

"I found the information about Glasgow really interesting, particularly the exhibit on the Battle of Langside. I think children would love that as well, because it is something that has happened right in the middle of their city.

"There's so much to see, the two hours we have had today hasn't really been enough."

* Natalie Morrison, teacher of primary 4 and 5 at St James' primary

"The collections here are relevant to just about the whole curriculum. I have already got a workshop booked for my pupils.

"The Scotland collections are particularly interesting. I liked the exhibit focusing on St Kilda, it was fascinating. It has a big map of Scotland on the floor, so that you can stand on Glasgow and see just how far away St Kilda is and I think children would really enjoy that.

"The exhibits are both instructive and interesting, they are perfect for schools. It really is great here now, it's a big improvement."

* Jane McClounan, primary 7 teacher at Shawlands primary

"There is just no comparison with the way Kelvingrove was before. It is fantastic. I liked the way a lot of the exhibits are not hidden away behind glass, they are out in the open within reach.

"Perhaps that's not such a good idea when there are lots of children wanting to touch the stuffed animals, but it does make it more open and accessible.

"I would come here to help teach about conservation and natural history, it is not just about art in here."

* Jim Quigley, art teacher at Notre Dame High

"Kelvingrove has always been a first-class facility but it was getting a bit tired. The refurbishment is superb, it is money well spent.

"It is so child-friendly and the mix of environmental artefacts, visual arts and natural history really works well. It is such an exciting place and there are great education facilities.

"Before, you had to take the children into the main galleries and it could be a bit intimidating with the other visitors walking around.

"I can imagine younger children being absolutely captivated by this place.

Museums and art galleries used to be staid and dusty places and that is certainly no longer the case at Kelvingrove."

* Julie Robertson, art and design teacher at Lourdes Secondary

"It is very impressive in many ways. The collections would be very helpful for teaching. Everything has been laid out into different subjects and they have put up lots of signs which simply have questions on them and that is an ideal way to engage children.

"They have also made a really strong effort to show how important women are to the arts. I think it is great that the women of the Glasgow style, such as Margaret MacDonald and Jessie M King, are all being exhibited in a very major way. I really like that."

* Val O'Donnell, a teacher in the faculty of creative crafts at All Saints' Secondary

"It is so nice to see Kelvingrove looking so clean and bright and I love the way they have put very different objects from different time periods within a single exhibit. That contrast between objects will immediately get children asking questions.

"The whole place is very strong visually. It is much more engaging. It also brings different subjects together and I will be using the collections to link up the subjects I am responsible for: technical studies, art and design, and home economics. It is fabulous."

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