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> Kelvingrove Visitor Numbers Fall... Again!, Alarming decline in visitors to city jewel
GG
post 1st Mar 2011, 11:43pm
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Hopes that Glasgow's economic regeneration would be tourism-led have suffered a severe blow after official figures revealed that visitor numbers to Glasgow's leading tourist attractions have plummeted over the last year. Visitor figures for the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, long trumpeted as a jewel in the crown of Glasgow's regeneration efforts, slumped by an alarming 22% in just one year.

The fall in Glasgow-based tourist attractions was not mirrored in Edinburgh, where both the National Galleries of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle recorded visitor increases to leapfrog Kelvingrove, with the capital's castle now claiming the title of Scotland's most-visited standalone free or paid attraction. It means that more people now visit the two top Edinburgh attractions than visit all of Glasgow's municipal museums.

The figures are especially disappointing for Kelvingrove, which has lost over a million annual visits since 2007, falling from 2.2million visits in that year to just over one million in 2010. Kelvingrove has come in for scathing criticism since it reopened after a 28m refurbishment in 2006.

In 2008, the world's leading fine and decorative arts publication, The Burlington Magazine, wrote that the updated display at Kelvingrove showed "contempt" towards the collection, adding that the eclectic array of exhibits formed little more than a crowded backdrop to a children's "kindergarten".

Responding to the alarming figures, a spokesman for Glasgow Life, the company which now runs Glasgow's museums and galleries, said:

QUOTE
"As a museums' estate, the almost 2.5 million visits recorded in 2010 reveal that, on any scale, Glasgow's civically funded museums are a remarkable testament to our citizens and visitors who remain passionate about their cultural legacy.

Kelvingrove remains Scotland's top admission-free attraction and we are counting down the days to the opening of our new 74 million Riverside Museum."

An Australian tourist who visited the Kelvingrove during 2010, and who left a review on the TripAdvisor website, wrote:

QUOTE
"I was looking forward to visiting the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow, and there were several paintings and sculptures in particular that I hoped to see. What a disappointment.

The display was such that it was almost impossible to focus on a single work of art, as there was always another work - invariably unsympathetic - right next to it, jostling into view. Paintings were displayed on comically short temporary walls, so that paintings of around 3 or 4 feet in height were almost on the ground. Sculptures huddled together in the most nonsensical gathering in a side wing on the ground floor. From the ceiling hung a display of leering heads, which a sign proudly announced were designed by a member of staff from the museum's events department. They looked like the sort of thing dreamed up by window-dressers for a noodle bar or shoe shop. Just why they merited pride of place in the sculpture gallery, and their own postcard to boot, was mystifying.

Worst of all were the walls texts. Clearly aimed at the 8-10 year old visitors to the gallery, they were apparently written by the 10-12 year olds. Not a scrap of information was to be gleaned. I can not bring myself to repeat the inanities therein, only to mention that in a room devoted to the 'Glasgow boys' (a temporary exhibit), the first wall text I encountered was not an introduction to the group per se, but a sign announcing that if I liked what I saw, I could buy a postcard in any one of the three shops arranged throughout the gallery.

Along with the ugly cafe in the central gallery on the ground floor (a cafe that seemed to be lifted straight out of an airport), I thought perhaps I had entered the Kelvingrove suburban shopping centre, with its delightfully undisguised commercialism and utter disregard for history, aesthetics, ideas, or artistic endeavour. Amazing idiocy."

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Crewsy Fixer
post 1st Mar 2011, 11:49pm
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I think there should be a hybrid museum, Kelvingrove and Peoples Palace, a mixture of the raw and exquisite.
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Dunvegan
post 1st Mar 2011, 11:57pm
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Kelvin grove, Kelvin Hall the museum and art gallery were the best days of my life as a wee boy. This is me and Louie there 1950.We used to get the Govan ferry at Water row and walk all they way to the park. It wis MAJIK!!!
MAJIK!!!

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Elma
post 2nd Mar 2011, 12:03am
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QUOTE (Crewsy Fixer @ 1st Mar 2011, 11:12pm) *
I think there should be a hybrid museum, Kelvingrove and Peoples Palace, a mixture of the raw and exquisite.

Never! You can't mix the internationally known pictures, artifacts etc that are to be found in The Art Galleries with the very basic local exhibits in the Peoples Palace.
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Crewsy Fixer
post 2nd Mar 2011, 12:17am
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Elma, A Glasgow museum depicting the high and the low is only representing Glasgow is it is and was. We all have our roles to play.
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TeeHeeHee
post 2nd Mar 2011, 12:20am
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I wouldn't know but I wonder if last years drop in visitors to the gallery had anything to do with the temporary loss of Dali's "Christ of St John of the Cross"?


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norrie123
post 2nd Mar 2011, 12:51am
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I visited the new galleries a while back, enjoyed them but I did miss the weapons section. Liked the Spitfire.

Changes have to happen you cant leave the exhibits they way they used to be. Mix PP and the Galleries, not for me, two different kinds of museums.

Bye for now, norrie
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*Scunner*
post 2nd Mar 2011, 01:02am
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QUOTE (Elma @ 1st Mar 2011, 11:26pm) *
Never! You can't mix the internationally known pictures, artifacts etc that are to be found in The Art Galleries with the very basic local exhibits in the Peoples Palace.

I remember when they had models of ships built on the Clyde with exhibits on the lower floor and the art exhibits were on the upper floor.
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*Guest*
post 2nd Mar 2011, 01:19am
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I feel the building is wonderful and I have no problem with the layout at all.

I just wish they'd get more with the art scene. To me it's more a museum and less an art gallery. I think they need to attract visitors by going more for the likes of Tracy Emmin's bed and much more famous works of art. What about exhibiting new art from the GSA? What about snubbing the establishment and showing work by untrained but brilliantly talented artists? What about using the space for more than it is currently used? There's a fantastic organ. But am I right in thinking you only get to hear it once a week? Why not every day? In London the Science museum is opened late the last Wednesday of every month, until 10pm. It attracts hundreds of people who are exposed to the exhibits and bring in revenue through the bar/restaurant. It's also an opportunity to get information from the public about what they think and want. It's not brave enough or current enough for me. And given that Glasgow isn't a capital city, I think this is something that needs to be looked at. I also don't think comparisons with Edinburgh are helpful. I think it needs to be compared with other non-capital cities, similar to Glasgow.
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**Atget**
post 2nd Mar 2011, 01:35am
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I only attend specific exhibitions at KG these days. It is a clutter, with very little thought to what exhibits should go where. There seems to be more consideration given to the shops and catering, than to the collection.

One thing they should do ASAP is get the Spitfire down, and move it to the Riverside, where it would be much more relevant, and hopefully more sympathetically displayed.
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mlconnelly
post 2nd Mar 2011, 01:37am
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I have to agree kelvingroves not what it used to be. I introduce my friends grandson to the musem when he was 5 (he's now 9) and we've spent many a wet school holiday there and had great fun but I still think it was better before the refurb. I hate that so much of the ground floor space has been given over to coffee shops when it could be used for many more exhibits. Many of the exhibits were supposed to be inter-active but everytime we've been there they have been either broken or pieces missing.
The Dali painting is my favourite thing to view when I'm there and agree that numbers could be down now that its on loan but dont think thats the only reason, cant put my finger on what it is but theres definitely something missing. sad.gif
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proudmaryhiller
post 2nd Mar 2011, 01:50am
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Have not been to the Art Galleries for a few years, always loved the changing Seasons scene and the beautiful coloured stones hope they have not been taken away? Also I've only ever known it as the Art Galleries not Kelvingrove AG! dry.gif


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The Callands Reb...
post 2nd Mar 2011, 01:57am
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I like to attend Kelvingrove each time I'm back in Glasgow.

For me, I like the red sandstone and Spanish styling of the building.

The displays I have viewed and will again in May, I'm sure will
be just fine.

Edinburgh?, give me Glasgow, PLEASE!

You All come to Virginia, we love you Scots.

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*Sam Murphy*
post 2nd Mar 2011, 02:25am
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Could it be that many of the tourist's who would have landed at Glasgow airport in the past now fly into Edinburgh thanks to the new Scottish parliament favouring Edinburgh as a destination?

Just a thought.
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*Megan McQueenie*
post 2nd Mar 2011, 03:26am
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Good morning,

I'm an Australian and visited Kelvingrove with my grandaughter 19, and 2 distant cousins/friends I brought to Glasgow and the Highlands (WHWay Walk) in October/ November 2010, I was devastated to see the ruin of 'my" Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

In 1979 my 2 daughters then 7 & 10, and I came for a 3 week holiday to visit friends in Glasgow and stayed nearly 6 years - we bought a house in Raeberry St Maryhill, I worked at Govanhill and Sandyford Housing Associations and the kids went to Hillhead primary & secondary schools.

We all loved Kelvingrove Gallery and it was one of our main weekend visits - not every weekend as we also walked, but Kelvingrove was "ours' and we knew where to find our favourite treasures and to locate new ones each time we visited.

My daughters loved the hands on visits they had with school regularly also - partciularly the opportunities to wear the "real dress of Mary Queen of Scots, Mum!!!!!" and to be able to touch and handle reproductiuons of many exhibits.

My particular love was my very "own" Dali - "St John of God" - I used to sit below and adore that painting and was heartily sickened by the brutality of the slashed art wotk at some time during my in Scotland.

We LOVED the old Kelvingrove.

We come "hame" (because thats how we still see it) to Glesga every few years, individually, to visit and renew friendships. I was there a couple of years ago and was disappointed because KG was closed for "renovation".

What a disappointment that renewal has been - I was so excited to be showing one of my daughters' daughter this "wonderful gallery" and had built it up in both our mionds - We were both so disappointed - me because "progress" is decidedly regress, and secondly "my" painting has been removed to the Religious art museum - that it ain't!!

My grandaughter enjoyed what she saw but it was not as I had described it and so much was missing.

I have recommended the Gallery to so many of my cohorts visiting Scotland, as a major Gallery and far superior to the Edinburgh Galleries - I am now extremely embarrassed to have done so - it is compromising Glasgow's reputation as a city of culture.

I concur with a previous writer who said the cafe in the entry to the Gallery is poor - it is TACKY - in ambience, food and degrades the beautiful building.

PLEASE PLEASE bring back the old gallery!!!!! AND MY DALI!!!!!
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