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Redevelopment allows Burrell Collection to put more treasures on show

Redevelopment allows Burrell Collection to put more treasures on show
About 2000 of the 9000 objects in the collection will be on display when the museum reopens in March.

Visitors will be able to see treasures that have not been on display for decades as a museum reopens next month with over a third more gallery space.

About 2000 of the 9000 objects in the Burrell Collection are now on show at the museum, which has undergone a £68.25 million redevelopment since it closed to the public in October 2016.

Curators have created “cross-cultural collection displays” meaning that objects such as an Islamic carpet could be found next to a medieval tapestry because they both feature similar scenes.

The museum’s gallery space has increased by 35% and, in total, 225 displays will be spread across 24 galleries in the building in Pollok Park on the southside of Glasgow.

The gallery space has been expanded (Jane Barlow/PA)
The gallery space has been expanded (Jane Barlow/PA)

Laura Bauld, project curator, told the PA news agency: “The redisplay has allowed us to bring out objects that haven’t been on display for a very long time and has also allowed us the opportunity to display objects in ways they have never been seen before in the gallery.

“For example, our Wagner garden carpet, which is a 17th century Persian carpet, it’s on display flat in a gallery, it allows visitors to walk all the way around it.

“It’s one of our iconic highlight objects from the collection and it shows an earthly paradise garden, lots of animals, lots of foliage, river scenes, it’s absolutely beautiful.

“So having these galleries newly developed, some of them expanded to be bigger spaces, has allowed us to bring out some of these larger objects we haven’t seen for a very long time.”

She added: “We’ve got lots of lots of different displays, over 2000 objects out on display here at the museum, it includes objects from all across the areas of the collection and what we’ve done is rather than display the collection areas by type, so all the Chinese ceramics in one place, all the arms and armour in another, we’ve done cross-cultural collection displays so you might get an Islamic carpet next to a medieval tapestry because they both depict scenes of hunting or scenes of countryside or scenes of rural living.

“We’re trying to bring out those themes for our visitors, themes they will engage with, be able to relate to and then, hopefully, connect with the objects that are on display.”

The collection, which reopens on March 29, features items such as Chinese pottery and porcelain produced over a 5,000-year period, objects from the medieval world, armour, tapestries and paintings, including works by Manet, Cezanne and Degas.

The expansion has allowed pieces which have not been seen for decades, or have never been on permanent display, to go on show.

It is hoped that in future there will be the opportunity to rotate objects, so that other items in the collection that are “waiting in the wings” have a chance to be seen.