Our new website and online catalogue launches today!

Today we’re thrilled to announce the launch of a new website and online catalogue for our holdings.

This is an exciting step for the Archives and Collections. By making our collections more accessible online, we hope to promote our magnificent holdings and facilitate the use of our archives and museum objects by both GSA staff and students as well as external users for the purposes of learning, teaching and research. This project has been kindly supported by Museums Galleries Scotland.

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Our main aim has been to make the catalogue as user-friendly as possible. We understand that academic users generally require detailed descriptions and information on, for example, how access to originals, copies and copyright,and in that sense the catalogue is still very traditional. However we are also aware that creative practitioners, who make up a significant proportion of our users, really appreciate the ability to browse and quite often rely on serendipity to find inspiration for their work, therefore, wherever possible, we have tried to include images alongside records, opening up a treasure trove of beautiful items to the public.

To browse images of our holdings, simply click on one of the 8 categories on our homepage.

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Alternatively you can also search by keyword on our catalogue.

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Our new website also includes user case studies and new subject-based archive resource guides, as well as a brand new format for our blog, so please remember to hop on over to our new blog and subscribe for updates. This current blog will disappear shortly.

Textiles    Vis Comm

As a result of the fire which occurred in the Mackintosh Building earlier this year, physical access to our collections is limited and we are sadly currently unable to welcome researchers to our searchroom, so providing virtual access to our collections has become even more vital at this time.

We’ll keep you updated on our progress and will be posting all week about the features of the website and online catalogue, so stay tuned. Happy browsing!

An Update on the Archives and Collections

The Mackintosh BuildingSix months on from the Mackintosh Building fire, The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections team are now able to provide more detailed information about how this event has affected the School’s extensive archives and collections.

Our holdings, which comprise a wide range of material from the GSA’s institutional archive, artworks and architectural drawings, textiles, plasters casts, photographs and furniture, did suffer some loss and damage as previously reported. However since the 23rd May we have worked to assess and stabilise the collections, put in place conservation plans, and started our thinking for the collections’ future, securing its role as a key learning and research resource for the GSA, academics worldwide and the wider public.

We can confirm that the majority of our paper archives and artworks on paper, including 100 works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, were unharmed by the fire. A small percentage of the paper archives suffered water damage, but these items have either been air dried or frozen and are now stabilised.

Our textile collections suffered some water damage. However, items have now been air dried, stabilised and conservation work, where appropriate, will commence in due course.

The GSA’s large collection of plaster casts has also survived, although many pieces have suffered smoke and water damage. Plans are now being developed to conserve and restore these pieces.

Items from our Mackintosh furniture collection which were in use in the Mackintosh Library or held in the store above this space were either destroyed or very badly damaged by the fire. Fragments of furniture and fittings are already being recovered from the Mackintosh Library as part of the forensic archaeology work currently underway (click here to watch a clip of GSA’s Academic Liaison Librarian Duncan Chappell talk about this). Many of our most important pieces were on display in the Furniture Gallery and Mackintosh Room in the east wing of the building and were therefore unaffected by the fire. In the early part of 2015 some of these pieces will be brought out of storage and returned to public view. We’ll have more details about this in the new year.

Almost all the oil paintings on canvas in the School’s collection were stored above the Library and were therefore also sadly destroyed.

All of the surviving material is now stable and secure. It will be reviewed by expert conservators as part of a recovery programme which will take place over the next three years.

Tonight! In Conversation: Lucy Reynolds & Sarah Neely on ‘A Feminist Chorus’


Find out more about Lucy’s use of Glasgow School of Art’s archives on our previous post

Thomas Annan’s images of Glasgow’s past

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Thomas Annan – The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow, Sp Coll Dougan 64

The Glasgow photographer Thomas Annan’s collection of photographs featuring the old closes and streets of Glasgow held in the University of Glasgow Library’s Special Collections is a wonderful resource. Created between 1868 and 1871 as part of a commission from the City of Glasgow Improvements Trust, this collection of images of the working class areas of old Glasgow helped document the impoverished living conditions of the working class at the time.

In 1866, the City of Glasgow passed an act through Parliament which authorised it to destroy the appalling slums of the City Parish. When it was decided in 1868 to make an effort to document the character and conditions of the old town, Thomas Annan was the obvious choice. Annan had previously photographed some of the busier thoroughfares of Glasgow, providing us with some historic record of the city’s more populous streets. When his focus was shifted to the confining closes, he provided us with another kind of record: the earliest comprehensive series of photographs of an urban slum – the very slum which was considered to be the worst in Britain.

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Thomas Annan’s son James Craig Annan is the photographer behind many of the most famous images of our very own Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Image courtesy T. & R. Annan & Sons Ltd.

Image courtesy T. & R. Annan & Sons Ltd.

For more information visit the University of Glasgow Library’s Special Collections website. Check out their online collection highlights and virtual displays for more inspiration.

Archives and Collections Centre Projects: New website feature!

GSA The Magazine, digitization project, 2010-2011

GSA The Magazine, digitization project, 2010-2011

We’ve revamped our website! You can now find out lots of information about the sorts of projects the Archives and Collections Centre has been involved in over the past few years.

From conserving the Mackintosh Building, digitizing our collections and being involved in various exhibitions and events to working on research and documentation projects such as the Glasgow Miracle and the Gillespie, Kidd and Coia architecture project, please do have a look at the website to find out more about what we’ve been up to.

If you are interested in working with the Archives and Collections Centre as part of a collaborative and/or creative project, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, research and cataloguing project, 2006-2009

Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, research and cataloguing project, 2006-2009