Human History


Glasgow Museums has a substantial and internationally significant human history collection. It comprises over 200,000 objects, which originate from all parts of the world and which date from about 700,000 BC to the present. This collection encompasses a notable assemblage of arms and armour, a broad world cultures collection and representative collections from the ancient world. There are extensive archaeological holdings, which predominantly relate to the prehistory of Scotland but also include finds from across Europe. The histories of Scotland and Glasgow are well represented. The collection contains a diverse range of religious objects, many of which relate to faith communities present within Glasgow. In addition, there is a small but important collection of coins and medals, with particular strengths in Scottish banking and ancient coins. Many of the historical objects, especially the oriental and Islamic artefacts, are part of a considerable collection assembled by William Burrell and given by him to the City of Glasgow. The collection is further supported by large quantities of documentation, including the RL Scott Library relating to arms and armour, and a sizeable collection of oral history.

Narrower term

Ancient Civilizations


Coins and Medals

East Asia

European Arms and Armour

Glasgow History

History of Education


Scottish History

Toys, Games and Children’s books

World Cultures

Staff Contact

Noorah Al-Gailani

Patricia Allan

Katinka Dalglish

Jane Flint

Fiona Hayes

Anthony Lewis

Isobel McDonald

Key Objects

Key Objects