Exploring the McManus Galleries

Located in the center of Dundee, Scotland, the McManus Galleries houses an art gallery and museum displaying a collection of decorative and fine art, as well as an impressive natural history collection. This superb example of Gothic Revival style architecture, dating back to 1865, reveals much about the colorful past of the city of Dundee through exhibitions relating to history, art and the environment.

The building was originally intended to be a memorial to Prince Albert (1819-1861) and would contain lecture rooms, a museum, reference library and picture gallery. It was designed by renowned English architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott, who specialized in the design, building and renovations of cathedrals, churches and workhouses. His original design included a large tower, but this had to be changed when upon starting construction in 1865, it was discovered that the foundations of the building would be situated in a drained wetland area that could not support the weight of the tower that he envisaged. The building was completed and opened as the Albert Institute in 1867. The building became the home of the civic museum and art gallery in 1873, and in 1889 an additional four museum galleries and four art galleries were added to the building, which later became the McManus Galleries.

To facilitate extensive renovations and restoration work, the Mc Manus Galleries was closed to the public on 24 October 2005. Upon completion of the renovations, the McManus Galleries ground floor will feature the reception area, a retail shop, a café, and exhibitions detailing the History of McManus Galleries and Museum, Landscapes and Lives, Making of Modern Dundee and What is McManus Galleries and Museum? The first floor will feature Dundee in the World, Victoria Gallery, The Long Gallery, Here and Now and Lifelong Learning.

The “Who We Are” project currently underway at the McManus Galleries aims to create a 21st century museum that will inspire, entertain and educate all who visit it. The project will tell the fascinating story of Dundee from earliest geological times through to modern day. High priority will be given to bringing the heritage and art of Dundee alive and ensuring its conservation. The building itself is undergoing an extensive restoration to preserve the Gothic grandeur of what is considered by many to be Dundee’s most celebrated building. Renovations are due to be completed toward the end of 2008 and visitors can look forward to gaining insight into this beautiful part of Scotland by means of a visit to the McManus Galleries.