Category Archives: Museums & Galleries in Europe

Our pick of museums and gallerires in Europe, covering some well known, as well as lesser known European museums and galleries. Museums focusing history, art and science fiction to transport, folklore and even art fakes. Galleries featuring modern and traditional art.

Scottish Maritime Museum

The Scottish Maritime Museum is located in Irvine on the Ayrshire coast. It’s not a state run museum, so there is an entry charge of £7.50 for adults (aged over 16), the concessionary price is £5.50. Up to three children enter free with one adult (full price or concession).

I decided to visit the Scottish Martime Museum for two reasons. It on my way to Dumfries and Galloway for the Arts and Crafts Trail in Kirkcubright and I wanted to see the Maritime Perspectives art exhibition, which was on at that time.

As I have an National Art Pass, I didn’t have to pay the entry charge. There’s a free car park in front of the museum.

There were some exhibits in the grounds of the museum.

I spent most time in the Maritime Perspectives art exhibition, in which you weren’t permitted to take photos.

The art theme continued in the museum. The ‘Propping Through Riverside’ architectural installation, a collaboration between an artist and an architect, illustrates the processes, techniques and construction methods used on the River Clyde.

I was interested to ready about George Wyllie’s ‘QM’ installation. His 80 foot long paper boat, lamenting the loss of heavy industry in the west of Scotland, toured the world for seven years, before being dismantled.

The last remaining piece of the installation is displayed in the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine.

Tom McKendrick’s ‘Hole Borer’ installation is a altar dedicated to the trades and mythologies of the shipbuilding industry.

I liked the posters for ferry trips.

The museum in Irvine is housed in the Victorian glass roofed Linthouse, the former Engine Shop of Alexander Stephen and Sons shipyard in Govan in Glasgow. The building was dismantled and rebuilt in Irvine. This vast building is very appropriate for the large industrial exhibits.

The Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine makes a good effort to engage young visitors. There is a wardrobe full of clothes for dressing up in period custume.

You can also try your hand at various nautical knots.

The models of ships were very intricate.

I believe that visitors interested in engineering, seafaring and industrial heritage would get a lot out of the Scottish Maritime Museum than me.

Paisley Thread Museum

At present, the Paisley Thread Museum is located in Abbey Mill Business Park.

You can park free of charge in the business park when visiting the Paisley Thread Mill Museum. But you must give the receptionist the registration number of your car, or you may receive a penalty notice from private car parking firm which monitors the car park.

The Paisley Thread Mill Museum exhibits are spread out over the foyer and the first floor mezzanine and corridor.

I loved the installation on the ceiling of the lobby at Abbey Mill, which consisted of hundreds of spools of thread of every colour and shade.

There are also a couple of machines from the former thread factory in the lobby.

There is a mural on the wall opposite the mezzanine level.

On the mezzanine level, there are several glass cabinets pictured below.

In the corridor, there are some more glass cases, predominantly filled with more reels of every imaginable colour of thread.

 

It appears that you can visit the museum during the opening hours of the Abbey Mill Business Park. However, the museum is staffed by local volunteers on Wednesdays and Saturdays from noon to 3pm. In my opinion, you get more out of your visit to Paisley Thread Museums if you visit when a volunteer is in attendance.

Review of V&A Dundee

I visited the V&A Dundee in mid October 2018, around three weeks after the museum opened. As a Dundonian, I was expecting great things of the V&A Dundee.

I’d seen the construction progress during visits to the city over the last couple of years. I thought that the building looked like a large dark ship jutting out on the Tay Estuary. I really liked it.

It was cloudy morning, with heavy rain forecast for later, when I arrived in Dundee. Therefore, I started off my visit with a good walk around the exterior of the V&A Dundee, in the hope of avoiding the heavy rain.

However, as I looked at the building close up, I wasn’t so impressed. It appears to be constructed mainly with concrete. You can see the large steel brackets which secure the concrete slabs at an angle.

My disappointment continued inside the V&A Dundee. There was so much space, but so little to see (free of charge). There was the Ocean Liners exhibition, but as it cost £12 for adult entry. I didn’t go in.

On the ground floor, there was an information/ticket desk, a gift shop and a cafe. The cafe become really busy during my visit. There weren’t enough tables and chairs, customers were having to take their drinks and snacks over to the seating at the bottom of the walls.

With a southerly aspect on an estuary, I  expected great views from the museum. But no, there were only some letter box style windows, most of them located well above eye level. Surely, particularly in Scotland, you’d want to let as much natural light as possible into a building?

The best part of top floor which had large windows with views to the estuary and the adjacent Discovery Point, was a restaurant and bar. We attempted to go there for a coffee, but were told that the tables were reserved for those having a meal. So much for the architects claim of of the V&A Dundee being a living room for the city.

Now I reckon that you could easily see the free sections of the V&A Dundee, both located on the top floor, in under one hour

There was an exhibition called the Scottish Design Relay on the landing. Young people throughout Scotland were challenged to co-design a new object, service or artwork.

There was a queue to enter the Design Galleries. There were interesting exhibits such as the Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room, some tapestries, clothing and an interactive display on wellie construction.

I liked Ciara Phillip’s ‘This, looped’ installation beside the queuing area for the Design Galleries.

I thought that some of the best views of the exterior of V&A Dundee were from the adjacent Discovery Point. I was able to enter Discover Point free of charge using my National Art Pass.

My recommendation would be to go into the V&A Dundee when it’s quieter. Either early, arriving at the opening time of 10am, or arriving later around 4pm. There is plenty else to see and do on a trip to Dundee. I recommend the Mcmanus Galleries, Dundee Contemporary Arts and Discovery Point.

With a price tag of £80m, the V&A Dundee should have wowed me. I don’t even blame the architect Kengo Kuma. Architects have their flights of fancy. It was up to the client to say ‘hold on a minute, where are the windows, to let in natural light and expose the views, and the space for the exhibits’? In my opinion, in design terms, as public space, and a as a museum, the building is a total flop. Looking good from a distance is not as important as the interior fulfilling its purpose.

St Vigeans Stones & Museum in Arbroath

There was free entry to St Vigeans Museum of Carved Stones in Arbroath during the  Doors Open Days weekend in Angus, in eastern Scotland.

Although I’ve visited St Arbroath many times, but I’d never been to St Vigeans before. The first thing that you seen when your drive into the village is the red church on the mound. There is free on street parking and a large car park at the end of the road by the church hall.

As I arrived during a dry spell on a showery day, I thought that I should have a walk up to church, where there were some interesting gravestones.

The museum is housed a terraced cottage in the main street.

I didn’t have sufficient interest or time, as I was heading to an art workshop at Hospitalfield, to read all the information about the carved stones, but I was impressed by the quality of the workmanship.

The St Vigeans Carved Stones Museum is usually only open by appointment. The next open day is Saturday 29 September 2018.

Liberty Art Fabric & Fashion exhibition at Dovecoat Studios

The Liberty Art Fabric & Fashion exhibition at the Dovecoat Studios runs until 12 January 2019.

I love fabrics, which is one of the reasons that I enjoying creating collages. I was really looking forward to seeing the Liberty Art Fabric & Fashion exhibition, and I was not disappointed.

I loved the Liberty fabric shoes.

The embroidery on the Art Nouveau style dresses was beautiful.

Admission prices are £9 for adults, £7 for students and unwaged, under 16s are free (but must be accompanied by an adult). Dovecoat Studios is open daily from 10.30 to 5.30pm during August. For the rest of the exhibition, the studios are closed on Sundays.

Green Man by Lucy Skaer at Talbot Rice Gallery Edinburgh

Lucy Skaer’s Green Man exhibition is on at the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh until 6 October 2018. It is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

The first thing which I observed upon entering the Talbot Rice gallery was that there was so much more light coming in. That’s because the gallery windows had been opened up.

I really liked the flora and fauna inspired paintings in the Green Man exhibition.

It’s free to see the the Green Man exhibition by Lucy Skaer. During July and August the Talbot Rice gallery is open Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 5p. But during September the gallery is shut on Sundays.

 

 

Art of Glass at the National Museum of Scotland

The Art of Glass exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland runs until 16 September 2018.

I’d been intending to visit the Art of Glass exhibition for a while. I did pop into the National Museum of Scotland one day before meeting our son for lunch, but I couldn’t find the exhibition. It’s on the third floor in the new extension.

My favourite exhibit was the Glass Cyphers installation by Griet Beyaert and Paul Miller.

Below are more photos of the Art of Glass exhibition.

It’s free to get into the Art of Glass exhibition. The National Museum of Scotland is open daily from 10am to 5pm.

Eve Fowler: What a Slight, What a Sound. What a Universal Shudder.

Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) is hosting the first major exhibition in Europe of work of the American artist Eve Fowler.

The work is influenced by the American writer Gertrude Stein. Many of the pieces are text.

There is also a film by Eve Fowler, with it which it as if it is to be. The film features female artists based in New York and LA, filmed creating their work. There is a soundtrack of various female voices reading from Stein’s Many Many Women.

The exhibition is not the most accessible to those not into contemporary art. But I like to give different types of art, which might not initially appeal to me, a try.

The exhibition is free to enter and runs until 26 August 2018. It’s open daily from 10am to 6pm, with late opening until 8pm on a Thursday.

Glasgow Police Museum

Glasgow Police Museum tells the history of Britain’s first police force in Glasgow from 1779 to 1975. It is run by volunteer members of the Glasgow Police Heritage Society.

There’s an impressive display of medals.

There’s an International Police Exhibition showcasing uniforms from around the world.

The Glasgow Police Museum is located in Bell Street in the Merchant City district. It’s free to enter, although donations are welcome. The opening hours vary by season. From 1 November to 31 March, the Glasgow Police Museum is only open two days a week, Tuesdays and Saturdays. Whereas from 1 April to 31 October, it’s open seven days a week.

 

Revealing Characters & Face to Face at McManus Galleries in Dundee

The Revealing Characters and Face to Face exhibitions runs at the McManus in Dundee until 20 May 2018.

Below are photos of my favourites pieces at the exhibitions,

 False Posiive, False Negative by Jane and Louise Wilson

Young Man in Landscape by Robert Colquhoun

Sacrifice by David Cook

Uphill by Lex Braes

2 Local Sporting Heroes: Liz McCougan & Jackie ‘Jock’ Gordon

Father by Simon Reekie 

Self-portrait by Margaret Milne

It’s free to visit the exhibitions. The McManus Galleries are open Monday to Saturday 10.00 to 17.00 and Sunday 12.30 to !6.30.