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8 cool things you may not know about the McManus

The McManus Galleries is one of Dundee's most beloved landmarks. After posing a question on Dundee Culture the other day on what , the majority of people said "McManus". To celebrate this cultural icon, Dundee Culture looks at eight cool facts that you might not know about the McManus!

It wasn't always called the McManus

The McManus didn't actually receive it's current name until 1984. Before then, the McManus we all know and love to this day was actually called The Albert Institute, which first opened in 1867, and was initially commissioned as a memorial for Prince Albert who had died six years before the institute opened.

It was designed by George Gilbert Scott

George Gilbert Scott was commissioned to design the then Albert Institute. George was a renowned expert in the restoration of medieval churches and a strong advocate for the Gothic architectural style.

It was meant to have a large tower

Speaking of George, he envisioned a grand tower for the building, inspired by his previous work at St. Nicholas Church in Hamburg, Germany. The site, situated in a small wetland known as Quaw Bog at the confluence of the Scourin Burn and Friar Burn, required large wood beams to support the foundations. Despite his ambitious plans, when construction began in 1865, the ground proved too unstable to support the envisioned tower.

It had various extensions after it was originally built

Throughout it's history, the McManus has always continued to expand. After what was originally constructed, two further sections were built by 1889, which extended the building by four art galleries and four museum galleries, these were designed by David MacKenzie, with the Eastern Galleries by William Alexander. At one point between 1873 and 1949, the buildings were administrated as part of Dundee's public library service.

It went under an historic renovation

The McManus went under an extensive renovation between 2005 and 2010 which saw the reconstruction of its interior and underpinning works. The museum opened back up to the public in February 2010.

It housed contents of another institute

After the institute was opened, it housed the contents of the Watt Institute before it was later opened as a civic museum and art gallery in 1873.

It's collections spans over 400 million years

The contents featured throughout McManus' eight galleries span over 400 million years which is an impressive long period of time!

The McManus was named after a lord provost

Speaking of names, the McManus Galleries was named after former Lord Provost Maurice McManus in 1984. Maurice served as the lord provost of the city from 1960 until 1967.


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