University of Glasgow
Founded in 1807, The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery is Scotland's oldest public museum and home to one of the largest collections outside the national museums. The basis of the museum holdings is the personal collection of Scottish anatomist and physician William Hunter. Upon his death in 1783, Hunter bequeathed his collection to the University of Glasgow.
Hunter’s collection, which included paintings by the likes of Rembrandt, Chardin and Stubbs as well as books, medieval manuscripts, prints, coins, shells, zoological specimens and minerals, has been described by Amy Meyers and Steph Scholten in their foreword to William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum (2018) as ‘a material testament to Enlightenment thought’. Its formation, they write, was ‘tied to deeply problematic aspects of eighteenth-century economic and social culture: imperialism, colonialism, slavery, domination over nature, and patriarchal structures that directly or indirectly maintained control over the female body’.
Over the past 200 years, the collections have both expanded and been redistributed across university departments. Notable additions include the Whistler Collection and works by the Glasgow Boys, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Scottish Colourists. By the 1960s, it had become clear that the museum in the university’s Gilbert Scott building was no longer suitable. Across the street, a new building designed by William Whitfield was completed in 1981. To the left of the entrance, the building incorporates a reconstruction of the exterior of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Southpark Avenue house, with its front door built into the wall high above ground level.