Lucy Harland, a former social history curator and BBC radio producer, introduces the short films she has made for the Riverside Museum Appeal website. Bob James, a retired Glasgow Fire Service officer and Guide/Researcher at the Museum of Transport comments on the prospect of working at the Zaha Hadid-designed building when it opens in 2011.
When the Riverside Museum opens next
year the dramatic building will become the new home for Glasgow's
Here Lucy Harland talks about the short films
she has made which introduce some of the stories behind the
exhibits. Then Bob James, who features in one of
the films, takes up the story.
Lucy Harland: Introducing the riverside story
Each of the 14 films I made for the Riverside Museum Appeal
website focuses on one of around 120 Riverside story displays.
These range from Bob James's experiences battling blazes with the
iconic Leyland Firemaster ("a toolbox on wheels") to the "enormous
challenge" of restoring and transporting the gargantuan South
African steam locomotive 3007; from replicating the excitement of a
ship launch to how the world-famous liner QE2 was commandeered as a
troop ship during the 1982 Falklands War. The films can also
be found on YouTube.
The people and the transport
The stories are about the people who built these wonderful
vehicles and the people who worked on them. But Riverside also
tells the stories of those who used these objects.
One film is about how Glasgow was 'dancing daft' - it is aimed
at today's teenagers and shows how 16 and 17 year olds in the 1960s
went dancing several times a week to, for example, the Barrowland
Ballroom. The film also includes the dresses and music
of the time - as well as a glitterball!
Down our street
Another film is about Riverside's re-created street, which spans
the years between 1890 and 1930.
Visitors loved Kelvin Street at the Museum of Transport and wanted
another at Riverside - with the opportunity to enter the shops.
You'll be able to go into the photographers to have your picture
taken, or pop along to the Italian café to soak up the atmosphere
and discover how they made ice-cream.
To help recount the stories, Riverside is also using the latest
audio-visual technology and "large, imposing"
displays. Among them will be "Rest and Be
Thankful, which uses cars on the curved walls to tell the story of
how they were tested on the Argyll road's multiple hairpin
A taster for what's to come
Through these films I hope visitors will get an understanding of
what they will be able to experience at Riverside and share the
project team's excitement in celebrating what many
Glaswegians experienced every day of their working lives.
I think it will be a great museum that visitors will get a lot of
pleasure from. What's critical about Glasgow's museums is that they
are free to enter, and many people rely on them for a really good
day out. So, if people make a small contribution to the Appeal, it
will make a huge difference.
Bob James: Anticipating the Riverside Museum
When 56-year-old Bob James retired from Strathclyde Fire Brigade
after 25 years of bravely helping to save lives and property, he
became a volunteer Guide and Researcher at the Museum of Transport.
Now he is looking forward to showing visitors round the new
I retired because of an injury that confined me to home for two
years until I recovered. Two Museum of Tranport guides, who were
friends from an old car club, suggested becoming one as a good way
of re-introducing myself into mainstream society.
When I started in 1999, I volunteered one morning and afternoon
a month and went through the training. It was really interesting,
particularly because the objects related to ordinary people. They
might have owned a car of that type, or travelled on that tramcar.
There was also a Leyland Firemaster, which I rode to fires on when
I was a recruit, so I had a personal link with one of the exhibits.
Because of my experience with the fire brigade, the Curator
responsible for emergency service vehicles asked if I would help
with an exhibition she was producing.
I enjoyed the research and visitor contact so much that, for the
last seven years of the Museum's life I volunteered five days a
I never anticipated enjoying the job so much. I have been
passionate about motor vehicles all my life, and discovered that my
research was much the same as I was doing at home in my spare time.
At the Museum of Tranport it became more focussed because I would
be asked to find out more about a particular vehicle, so would
tease out evidence and information.
A home for technolgy
When it opened in 1964 at Albert Drive, the building's official
name was the Glasgow Museum of Transport (and Technology). However,
there was nowhere to accommodate the technological exhibits as they
were being collected. They included washing machines, the first
microwaves, heated curlers and hot-powered gramophones from the
The Riverside Museum will include three streets with stores
'selling' these inventions.
Explore the past
Transport will still be the major filler, with groups of trams,
buses and Scottish cars. It will be laid-out like an adventure for
young adults to discover: What's around this corner? What happens
when I do this? What's behind this door? It's about creating an
urge to go and find out.
Contribute to the Riverside Museum Appeal
Glasgow's much loved Museum of Transport closed its doors
for the final time in April 2010, paving the way for the move to
the impressive new Riverside Museum being built on the banks of the
Clyde. During its 22 years at the Kelvin Hall site, well over 10
million visitors came to see the collection of cars, trains,
motorbikes, trams and the unique collection of ship models.
The iconic Riverside Museum opens in Spring 2011, and the
public can have a stake in the museum by donating to the Riverside
Museum Appeal to help raise £5million. To date £3.7million has been
raised, and everyone who makes a donation will have their
name permanently recognised within the new museum on digital touch
screens. Every penny will help the Riverside Museum Appeal reach
its target and help care for Glasgow's world class transport
collection. To donate visit www.riversideappeal.org
or text RIVERSIDE and your name to 70700 to donate £5. Texts cost
£5 plus standard network rate. Full terms and conditions available
on our website.
We are grateful to Glasgow
Magazine for permission to use this material.
30th September 2010