The McManus

(McManus Galleries and Museum, Albert Institute, Dundee Museum and Art Gallery)

Albert Institute and McManus Galleries, Dundee
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Albert Institute and McManus Galleries, Dundee

The McManus represents Dundee's principal museum and art gallery, located in splendid isolation between Albert Square, Meadowside and Panmure Street, immediately to the north of the city centre. Built in 1867 as the Albert Institute, this was Dundee's memorial to Prince Albert, said to be the grandest outside London. An ornate Gothic revival construction, the building was the work of English architect Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-78). Now A-listed, it is considered the finest of Dundee's Victorian public buildings. It originally included a library and a public hall but was extended in 1874 and 1887. The art galleries on the upper floor were subsequently named after Dr. Maurice McManus (1906-82), a long-serving Lord Provost of Dundee who had been a great supporter. Following a major refurbishment 2006-10, which involves a complete reconstruction of the interior and underpinning works, the entire complex reopened as the McManus.

The permanent exhibitions cover archaeology, geology, natural history, local history and works of art reflecting the people, culture and environment of Dundee and its connections with the world beyond. The main galleries within the McManus are the Victoria Gallery, which houses a collection of 19th Century Scottish art, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti's triptych, Dante's Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice (1880); the 20th Century Gallery, containing more modern art including the work of James McIntosh Patrick (1907-98), Alberto Morrocco (1917-98) and John Houston (1930 - 2008); the Long Gallery, which houses ceramics, fine and decorative art of national significance; and the Albert Hall, which features a remarkable tunnel-vaulted and ribbed wooden ceiling and fine stained glass. This latter space focuses on international collections, highlighting Dundee's long involvement in overseas trade. The 'Making of Modern Dundee' includes displays on the city's industries, whaling and polar exploration, politics and radicalism, sport and culture, and includes a model of the city centre constructed in 1933. There are also temporary and touring exhibition spaces.

Outside the building are statues of Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901), poet Robert Burns (1759-96), politician George Kinloch (1775 - 1833) and industrialist James Carmichael (1776 - 1853), together with the Dundee Spanish Civil War Memorial.

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