THE Burrell Collection brings visitors from all over the world – but its multi-million pound new look has been shaped by the people who live on its doorstep.

More than 15,000 local residents took part in a project designed to make the famous museum in Pollok Park more accessible to Glaswegians when it re-opens in March.

Visitor Studies Curator Susie Ironside says every aspect of the redesign – from access and outdoor spaces to new displays and galleries – has been completed in consultation with local people.

“When we first started the project, we had lots of information on who was visiting the Burrell and it was mainly women, mostly white, and generally over 50 years of age,” said Susie.

Glasgow Times: Susie Ironside. Pic: Colin Mearns

“Look around Glasgow and you know that does not represent the city as a whole – so we looked at who wasn’t coming, and why, with the aim of creating a museum that tells their stories too.”

She added: “Glaswegians are naturally nosey and we wanted to celebrate that curiosity. What came up often was that people wanted to know the stories behind these famous objects housed at the Burrell.

“Yes, they are in a museum, but they are also things that have been owned by someone. What people wanted to know was who owned this bowl, this vase, this cup? Where was this tile in someone’s house and who made it, who sat on that chair? It’s those stories that resonate.”

Shipping magnate Sir William Burrell collected more than 9000 works of art over 75 years of his life before donating it to the City of Glasgow in 1944. The purpose-built Burrell Collection opened in 1983 and closed in 2016 for a £69 million refurbishment, made possible by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Community engagement work ranged from inviting city toddlers to help design a play space outside the new Burrell, to creating ‘handling boxes’ which feature objects from the museum chosen by representatives from local groups, which will now head back out into the communities which created them.

Councillor David McDonald, Glasgow Life Chairman and Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “We wanted to involve local people at every level, right from the beginning of the refurbishment project, and encourage them to have real ownership of the collection. Through this important partnership work we hoped to build a stronger connection between the museum and those who initially did not see it as a place for them.”

READ MORE: First look at Burrell's makeover journey through eyes of Glasgow photographer

He added: “The feedback has been incredibly positive. It’s wonderful to see local groups eager to use the boxes they created in their community, as a really hands-on way to speak about the much-anticipated reopening of The Burrell.”

Susie added: “As curators we have to have knowledge, of course, to be able to look after the collection and maintain it, but it really only comes to life through people relating it to their lived experience.

“It comes to life through the stories.”