The University of Strathclyde holds two important museum collections: Fine Art and Historic Scientific Instruments. From 1973 until May 2012, both were managed by a Curator responsible for public and specialist access, enquiries and display, both in offices around campus and in special exhibitions at the University’s now defunct Collins Gallery. Artworks were also loaned to exhibitions organised by external institutions.
The Fine Art Collection comprises over 1,000 paintings, prints and drawings dating from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Most of the commissioned works are portraits in oils of senior officers but there is also a small but significant collection of paintings, again mainly portraits, relating to Anderson’s Institution, which, founded in 1796, was the origin of the current University. The contemporary part of the collection focuses mainly on Scottish artists and includes key works by Joyce Cairns and Margaret Hunter. A small number of these were purchased by the University with grant aid from public funds but the majority, an eclectic mix of well-established and amateur artists, were generously gifted by former University librarian and art enthusiast, Dr Helen Cargill-Thompson.
Illustrated records of the contents of both collections are available on a database, accessible from the University’s Archive.