Farewell from Professor David Gaimster

Published on: Author: Harriet Gaston Leave a comment

A staff post from Professor David Gaimster, Director of The Hunterian.

It has been a great pleasure and privilege to lead The Hunterian over the last six and a half years. It has been particularly rewarding to help deliver the Kelvin Hall Phase 1 project for the mobilisation of museum collections for research, teaching and learning, working in close partnership with the City of Glasgow, Glasgow Life and the National Library of Scotland. The Hunterian Collections Study Centre at Kelvin Hall is the single largest multiple collections laboratory in the Higher Education world and the envy of our peers. The university Impact agenda and policy need for universities to engage with civic society create a major opportunity for university museums to play a more dynamic role in mediating HE research for the wider community, investing in collection-based research and teaching and in providing the ‘go-to’ solution for training the next generation of museum curators. Through its active participation in new Masters programmes, Summer Schools and training initiatives, I see The Hunterian spearheading this development in the next few years and becoming an international hub for collections research and innovation in curatorial practice.

With its civic, university and national collections, Glasgow has one of the richest museum ecologies of any major city in the world. What distinguishes Glasgow is its commitment to strategic partnership and collaboration. Where else would university, civic and national collections come together to create a joint collections access and educational facility, with joint public programmes and a digital portal for cross-searching Glasgow’s multiple cultural assets. We have now laid the foundations for further capital investments at Kelvin Hall, where partner institutions will be developing new gallery spaces in the next few years with shared public amenity space. Glasgow is creating a new paradigm for the city museum attraction of the future, which connects material knowledge across institutional boundaries. It has been exhilarating as the director of The Hunterian to share in a common vision for the learning city of the future. Glasgow has been an exhilarating experience over the past few years and I envy the person who comes after me in this role.

I am also proud to have witnessed the expansion of our academic and student engagement offers and a year on year rise in our visitor figures. None of these achievements would have been possible without the dedication and professionalism of my colleagues in The Hunterian and so many others around the University of Glasgow who embraced our ambition for innovation in university museum practice.

The decision to leave the University has been an extremely difficult one, but I am comforted in the knowledge that the new Director of The Hunterian will inherit a strong platform for even greater innovation as the next phase of the Kelvin Hall project evolves.

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