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Managing cultural expectations

Author(s): Peter Trowles

Journal: University Museums and Collections Journal
ISSN 2071-7229

Volume: 1;
Start page: 67;
Date: 2008;
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Professor Christopher Frayling, Rector of the Royal College of Art has remarked that the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed Glasgow School of Art is “the only art school in the world where the building is worthy of the subject” whilst Sir Terence Conran, the designer and retailer, has stated that the School is “an architecturally inspirational place that has played a unique part in the history of design”. Fine words, but as the School enters the 21st century it faces a complex challenge. It certainly aims to maintain the world famous Mackintosh building as a teaching facility, now at the heart of a very busy campus. Nevertheless, it also recognizes the importance of the building as an architectural monument and wishes to preserve the fabric of this unique structure. It also accepts and understands the wider cultural significance of Mackintosh and role of the arts in Glasgow. With this in mind, summer 2007 saw the start of an ambitious £ 8.7 m conservation and access project that will: Conserve and protect the building's fabric, and restore many of its original features and spaces. Improve the care, exhibition and access to the School's internationally important archives and collections including the provision of new stores and a public study centre. Manage and enhance visitor access to a continually working art school but allow for a predicted growth in numbers to approximately 33,000 visitors per year. Expectations are high but The Glasgow School of Art is confident that its cultural past will continue to play a crucial part in shaping its educational future.
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