Watch the introductory video to find out about who we are and what we do!
The Glasgow School of Art’s Archives and Collections are an outstanding resource for the study of art, design, architecture and art education. Our holdings illustrate the history of the institution and the development of its teaching practices since it was established as a UK Government School of Design in 1845.
In the late 19th century, there was a recognised need for government funded art schools in the UK to cultivate an “aesthetic appreciation” of objects. Art schools therefore collected a variety of artifacts to inform students about different design styles and to act as subject matter for drawing classes. More information about the history of GSA can be found by browsing our timeline and the School’s main website.
The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections still hold many of the items that were acquired as teaching tools in the School’s early period, including plaster casts, ceramics and metalwork. We also hold a range of artworks, architectural drawings, design work and archive material relating to former students and staff. We continue to purchase work from student degree shows, in order to capture the changing teaching practices at GSA and the wider art school landscape.
Our institutional archive comprises documentation about life at the School from 1845 to the present day and includes correspondence, photographs, ephemera, student records, minute books and reports which provide an insight into GSA’s people, buildings and activities.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh (7 June 1868 – 10 December 1928) studied evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art between 1883-1894, winning numerous student prizes and competitions including the prestigious Alexander Thomson Travelling Studentship in 1890. Our holdings include a large number of items by Mackintosh, giving us one of the largest collections of his work held in public ownership.
The majority of our Mackintosh collection is digitally available online, including a travel sketchbook from his tour of Italy in 1891 and The Magazine, a four volume publication which includes work by Mackintosh and his fellow students. You can browse our Mackintosh collection here.
We are also currently working on a project in conjunction with GSA’s School of Simulation and Visualisation. Our Mac(k)cessibility project explores digital display and loans of our Mackintosh furniture collection.
We are currently based in The Whisky Bond at Speirs Lock on the Forth and Clyde Canal, approximately 20 minutes walk from GSA’s main campus. We are open to all researchers including the School’s staff and students, and external visitors including members of the general public. Click here to find the information that you need to book a visit.
If you wish to get in touch with a specific member of the team, you can find more information and contact details for our staff here.
You can browse our Archives and Collections holdings on our online catalogue, where you will find a video to help you. You can also find our catalogue records on Archives Hub, as well as images of our artworks and sculptures on Art UK.
To find out more about our activities see our Archives and Collections blog, projects page and Vimeo channel. You can also find examples of how historical resources can support contemporary creativity on our Hatchery blog. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @GSAarchives.