The old curiosity shop; who's in the house?

With its Gothic arches and glass cases, the Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum retains an air of austere Victorian splendour
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In 1891, two English architects won the design competition to build the Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum, in Kelvingrove Park. The result was this dramatic Gothic building, similar to London's Victoria and Albert Museum. Its remarkable exhibits make this a totally captivating place. Packed full of curiosities in glass cases, it is very different from contemporary museums, but it is currently hosting an interactive, playful exhibition called "Design Machine" as part of Glasgow's reign in 1999 as UK City of Architecture and Design. The gallery upstairs displays paintings from the Renaissance to the Victorian era. Many of these works are hung three or four above each other, making it slightly overwhelming to look at them all.

The exterior is built from Dumfriesshire red sandstone, the main roof is Westmoreland green slate, the interior is made from blonde sandstone from Giffnock, Glasgow. Pending the result of an application for a National Lottery grant, the museum may be redesigned as a flexible exhibition space, used to rotate its collection of over a million objects.

`Design Machine' runs until 9 January 2000 (0141 287 2700)

Who's in your house?

If you are a group of people who live, or work, within the same building and would like to be featured on this page, write to Who's in the House?, The Independent Magazine, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, giving a contact phone number, your address, and details of the type of building you occupy. Please also include recent photographs (which you do not want returned) of your homes or offices.

Susan Smith

Museum assistant, worked here since 1990

Pictured in the geology room

This is a fascinating museum because of the variety of exhibits, which range from Japanese kimonos and eskimo outfits to this Tyrannosaurus Rex. "Children love the dinosaurs," says Susan. "It's a fabulous building, the rooms are so big and awe inspiring. When you see people's reactions as they come in, you know they are impressed. The museum is really busy, with a lot of good exhibitions - it's not just the same thing all the time - one was on the Dead Sea Scrolls."

John Stewart

Worked here since 1998

Caroline Conahan

Worked here since 1984

Both museum assistants, pictured in the arms and armour room

This room, with its sweeping staircase, bold arches and chandeliers, shows off the full imposing splendour of the museum's interior, but neither John nor Caroline rate it as the best. "I like the Scottish room best," says John. Caroline agrees. The room displays historical Scottish landscape paintings and portraits, as well as showing traditional costumes.

Tony Geoghegan

Museum assistant, worked here since 1993

Pictured in the temporary exhibition room

"The response to `Design Machine', our current exhibition, has been good: it's been quite busy with school parties but it appeals to everyone from toddlers to pensioners," Tony enthuses. "Personally, I think it's excellent. It makes you think - you don't know what you can achieve until you try. You just have a look around and think: maybe I could do something better than that. This really is something very different from the norm, it looks to the future, and I'm sure a lot of people have learnt from it."

Richard Sutcliffe

Curator of vertebrate zoology, worked here since 1979

Pictured in the bird store

The bird store, on the top floor, is home to a thousand mounted specimens. "The collections in this room come from all over the world," says Richard. "They were in our bird gallery before it closed a few years ago - some of them are recent mounts but a lot of them date back to the Victorian era, when the museum first opened. We would like to have more room to house things in storage so that people could come and view them by appointment."

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