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The Heritage Lottery Fund has contributed to the development of the Collections Navigator

About the Navigator

The Collections Navigator project is part of Glasgow Museums' work to expand and enhance the stores at Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC) in Nitshill, Glasgow. The Navigator makes information about our collections available online and, significantly, enables you to find out about many of those collections and objects which are in storage, some of which may never have been on display.

In fact, only around 2% of the 1.4 million objects in the collections are on display at any one time. The stores at GMRC are uniquely designed to provide public access to the other 98% of objects, along with supporting material such as documentation and research papers.

The Collections Navigator allows you to browse and search the collections from anywhere there is access to the internet, as well as on computer terminals in most of our museum venues.

How is information arranged in the Collections Navigator?
The Collections Navigator groups the collections into small but coherent chunks which we call Collection Level Descriptions (CLDs). Doing it this way allows you to easily navigate through entire groups of items as well as finding out about some of the objects associated with them.

These descriptions or ‘CLDs’ range from large concepts such as 'history' or 'art', where we have many thousands of objects, down through different levels to specific themes such as 'Ancient Sumeria' or 'Swiss tapestries', where we have perhaps a few dozen objects at most.

Associated with each of these collections, both large and specific, will be a select group of objects chosen by the curators which will have photographs and extended descriptions.

The project so far
Work on the Collections Navigator is now well advanced, and a series of public and specialist consultations have already taken place. Curators have written the first set of collection descriptions, which are now being transferred to the database in advance of being published online. A second set of descriptions are now well advanced, and a third set will be completed before the project is finished.

The Collections Navigator has been made possible with generous funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Technical developments on the project were led by James Starritt and Gayle Silverman of Willoughby Associates, Limited. Content development for the Navigator was led by Glasgow Museums’ curatorial and photographic sections and facilitated by teams in documentation and communications.

Subject Trails on the Navigator were produced in collaboration with Postgraduate students from the School of Education at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) (opens in a new window).

Previous Curators at Glasgow Museums who have contributed to the development of content for the Navigator include Toby Capwell (Arms and Armour), Alison Kelly (Religion), Emma May (Curator of Oriental Art),Mike Rutherford (Zoology),Elisabeth Schulte (Religion), Hugh Stevenson (British Art), Jean Walsh (British Art), Jennifer Webster (Transport and Technology) and Robert Wenley (European Art 1600-1800). We are grateful to the many other staff and associates who have contributed variously to the project over the years.