Institution 42

Second Hunterian Museum

opened 1869


Plans were afoot from the 1840s to move the University from its original High Street site in the city centre, which was becoming increasingly industrialised and perceived by the Faculty as an undesirable area to inhabit. The growing western suburb of Gilmorehill was chosen for the new site, the funds raised, and the Gothic Revival architect George Gilbert Scott chosen to design the new buildings, which the University took possession of in 1869. Regrettably, quarterly meeting minutes of the Hunterian Trustees Committee are lost (except three meetings in 1869 itself) between 1859 and 1881. A note in this document records that the Committee itself lapsed for eight years between the move to Gilmorehill and the Hunterian’s reopening in 1877. From 1873 onwards, thankfully, the curator Dr Young supplied regular reports to the University Senate and these are preserved (with donation lists) in the Minutes of the University Senate. A new Ethnological Department of the Museum (covering archaeology and world cultures) was formed in 1897, which can be seen as motivated by the University’s 1889 acquisition of the large ethnological holdings of the Andersonian Museum, swelling the cultural collections very considerably, and in emulation of institutional restructurings in London and Oxbridge around the same time.

It appears that no additional tapa has entered the Hunterian since 1889, with the exception of a (presently undocumented) exchange of material with the Industrial Museum of Scotland at some time between 1889 and early-1900s. That understood, one 1930s Guide to the Cultural Collections of the Hunterian Museum indicates that, of the 62 cases in the Hall of Cultural Collections, thirteen contained Pacific material culture, and Case 41 was devoted entirely to tapa and its manufacturing tools.




Date of Opening


Date of Closing


Entry created on 28 August 2020