Our Doors Open Day 2015 was a massive success and thousands of people were welcomed by our participating buildings and spaces across the city.
For the first time we had a dedicated childrens programme with over 45 different activities and events ranging from archaeology to arts and crafts and storytelling to sporting events. Our childrens fantastic brochure was designed by local artist Rosemary Cunningham and attracted plenty to the festival with more than 5,500 visits by children.
One of our most popular events was The Mazing Memory Museum developed by City of Play and hosted by the Riverside Museum. Here, visitors found a creative workshop within an exciting hay bale maze complete with creative and educational activities about Glasgows history as well as fun ways to share and record their own experience of the transport museum.
We also encompassed some archaeological events into our Children’s Programme including the fantastic Provan Hall ‘Wee Dig’ where children could see some archaeology in action. With help from the RSPB, children learned about wild foraging and got the chance to both see and taste medieval-style bread cooked in an outdoor oven.. There was face painting, artefact displays, live music and demonstrations for a full-on family day out with plenty of activities to keep everyone busy. And if medieval history wasn’t your thing we also had a reconstructed World War I Allied and German trench systems set up at the Burrell Collection designed specifically for children.
There was certainly plenty of children’s activities to choose from throughout the 2015 Glasgow Doors Open Day festival and we loved supporting the many fledging heritage enthusiasts in Glasgow.
Activities gave children the chance to explore some of their local history, to be creative and to try lots of new and exciting things. As well as interactive events in a our historic buildings we also opened up fire stations, workshops and artist studios and even highlighted some of our fantastic green spaces here in Glasgow through family events in a number of community gardens across the city.
Venues really got behind our new children’s events but two participants really stood out and were honoured as part of our Glasgow Doors Open Day Civic Reception. Proving just how popular our events were, we couldn’t pick just one but instead awarded a joint Children’s Educational Experience Award to Glasgow Sheriff Court and The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre. Both spaces, although very different, embraced the educational focus of Glasgow Doors Open Day and provided exceptional opportunities to learn about history, heritage and architecture.
We’re looking forward to planning our 2016 Doors Open Day and providing another exciting and engaging Children’s Programme as part of our festival.
If you have any suggestions for children’s event or on how we can make our programme even more family friendly please contact Rachel Holliman, GBPT Events and Development Coordinator email@example.com.
By Kirstin McEwan November 2015
For those who have been long time admirers of Mackintosh, or those who wish to learn more about Glasgows most loved architect, there are fantastic opportunities throughout Doors Open Days to do so.
Explore the former Glasgow Herald buildings, Mackintoshs first public commission. The Lighthouse houses the permanent Mackintosh Interpretation Centre, which explores the architects life and work. The perfect starting point for anyone planning to tour Mackintoshs works in Glasgow.
Mackintoshs only church design to be built, this hidden gem now houses the headquarters of Mackintosh Society charity and cannot be missed by any Mackintosh fans. Commissioned in 1896, the simplicity of the design in comparison to its contemporary Victorian builds is inspiring.
The building is a must see for Mackintosh fans, as a fantastic example of his architectural style. With many features built into the stonework and staircases, there is something around every corner. At its peak, the school accommodated 1250 pupils.
This richly-illustrated lecture focuses on The Hill House and draws on the University of Glasgow’s major ‘Mackintosh Architecture’ research project. The lecture, by Hunterian Senior Curator Professor Pamela Robertson, will explore the factors that shaped the design of The Hill House and present these in the context of Mackintosh’s wider career.
Explore Mackintosh’s ideas, inspirations, education and relationships on this hour-long external tour with GSA’s award-winning student guides. Examine the fascinating exterior design of the Mackintosh Building along with a number of hidden architectural gems in the local area.
We also have two buildings taking part, that are inspired by Mackintosh designs but built long after his time.
The exterior and some of the interior of the House for an Art Lover has been realised, in materials, craftsmanship and dimensions, as closely as possible to the Mackintosh designs of 1901.
Meticulously reassembled interiors from the house in which Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his artist-wife Margaret Macdonald lived from 1906 to 1914. The interiors are furnished with Mackintosh’s original furniture and fitments and decorated as closely as possible to the original.
“Oh look, there’s an angel on top of that chicken restaurant. Never noticed that before”. No these were not the ravings of a less than sober club goer on a Saturday night, but my boyfriend at 2pm on a rainy Wednesday. Walking along Sauchiehall Street on a perfectly ordinary afternoon he saw it. Then I saw it.
As an adopted Glaswegian, my love for the city runs deep. The nightlife, the atmosphere and the people had me enamoured with the city as soon as I arrived. One of my favourite things however is that Glasgow is never done surprising you. It might be a secret restaurant or a hidden café down a lane, or indeed it might be the absolutely massive buildings that have surrounded me during my four year stay. This is why I’m never surprised like my native friends when we see tourists in Glasgow. Instead of the sun soaked beaches of The Maldives or, if they were intent on biting winds and rain in June, any of the other buzzing metropolises the country has to offer, they choose to come and visit this great city. Now I don’t know for certain, but I think one of the main reasons is that, unlike many countries, our extensive Scottish culture is literally standing around us. Our churches and universities are older than a world super power and, unlike a world super power, are accessible to anyone who wishes to see them.
Take for example Glasgow Cathedral, which hosts a full congregation, weddings and tours on certain days. And yet it is possibly the oldest building in Glasgow, being erected in 1136. Not only that, almost every architectural style has been added to the building at one time or another (but mostly when they raised enough money). Through kings, queens, wars and a reformation, this building has survived, physically scarred by Scotland’s collective history.
However, Glasgow’s architecture is not just historically fascinating. The Arches, arguably one of the best venues for theatre and DJs in the city, is a prime example of reappropriation of what little space there is in the middle of a city. Or as an American buddy of mine put it, “Dude, you guys serve beer under your train tracks. Totally awesome.”
Glasgow is never done surprising you. And that is why the Glasgow Doors Open Day is so important. Not only will hundreds of buildings throw open their doors (as the name suggests) to visitors, but special talks, walks and presentations will give natives and tourists alike an insight into Glasgow’s building heritage. It lasts from the 16th to the 22nd of September (unlike the name suggests) and everything is completely free. And you now how us Scots love a bargain.
When you’ve lived somewhere forever it’s difficult to stop and admire your surroundings. But when you’re next waiting for the bus, or your significant other is taking an extraordinarily long time in a shop/pub look up, and see what your city has to offer you.
Katherine McAinsh is a recent University of Glasgow graduate with a degree in Scottish Literature and Language. A native Northerner, she has lived in Glasgow for four years and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.