Saturday, July 23, 2011

Riverside Museum: Scotland's Museum of Transport and Travel

ahoy - aunty B at the wheel

Today Aunty B, the Wee Guy and I (very appropriately) took the train from Stirling to Glasgow (saving a good bundle of cash using my Friends and Family Railcard, I might add) to visit the Riverside Museum. With one small boy requiring entertainment on a 24/7 basis (I think he sleeps but don't quote me) the option of visiting a transport museum was a no brainer indeed.

studious pair

We woke up to a glorious summer day here in central Scotland, i.e. clear blue skies with white fluffy clouds scudding at a rate of knots, warmth in sheltered crannies, and no precipitation. Fleece optional weather :)
The transport museum was an excellent choice, busy but excellent, and totally free admission. The collection is housed in an incredible tin shack of the highest order (designed by architect Zaha Hadid) featuring a ripple design which reminded me of wave forms in river mud. This pleated design allows the interior of the space formed to be relatively free of support columns and there is a wonderful continous view/flow through the exhibits.

inside the museum

Interestingly, very few of the exhibits are arranged in themes or chronologically - it's a very eclectic arrangement which jumps around a bit but manages to maintain interest. We spent a few hours wandering around the streetcars, automobiles, underground trains and bicycles before getting the usual museum fatigue. Our youngest member tired last - it was the adults clamouring for out first.


There are some amazing displays featuring Glasgow public transport as it developed from cable-drawn underground trains to trams and street cars and buses. Cycling features prominently; one of my favourite bikes on show was a Raleigh Chopper. I never had one but can remember how daft and treasured they were in their day. A nifty exhibit on skateboarding reassured me I hadn't been hallucinating about tiny plastic decks, and the Sinclair section had me crying with laughter at the nuttiness of the ZX Spectrum among other inventions. How on earth did he succeed?

views up the Clyde from the museum

After a delicious lunch in the cafe spent gazing through massive picture windows at the tall ship, Galatea, moored outside, we checked out a few more indoor exhibits and enjoyed the views up and down the Clyde from inside the museum. One window looks out onto one of the last working shipyards on the river. We then went for a stroll in the sun and boarded the ship for a visit (5GBP per adult, kids free). What an incredible experience! All levels were open for exploring and some great kid-friendly activities (want to try out climbing the rigging? go ahead!) plus a mouse hunt, kept everyone happy.
And the sun kept shining all day, clouds stayed away so we finished the evening with a picnic on the back step! Summer might be here :)

on the weather deck
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