Religious life and art museum reopens for first time since before pandemic

St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art has displays covering different aspects of religious life, belief, and practice.

A “unique” museum of religious life has reopened for the first time since before the pandemic.

St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art in Glasgow explores the importance of religion in people’s lives across the world and across time.

The museum, named after Glasgow’s patron saint, closed in March 2020 as the country went into lockdown but reopened on Thursday.

It is recognised for its role in promoting understanding and respect between people of different faiths and those of none.

Duncan Dornan, head of museums and collections with Glasgow Life Museums, which manages the museum, said: “Since St Mungo Museum opened in 1993, we have worked with the local community to create imaginative displays, ground-breaking educational programmes, interfaith dialogue, and interesting topical exhibitions.

“Together this has established the museum’s popularity and reputation as a neutral and safe space for encouraging dialogue and understanding, often of challenging topics.

“It’s wonderful news we are open and ready to welcome the public back to St Mungo’s.”

The museum is set over three floors with displays covering different aspects of religious life, belief, and practice.

Reopening of museum
Friends of different faith groups at the reopening of St Mungo Museum (handout/PA)

Treasured pieces include a bronze sculpture of Shiva, one of the most important gods of Hinduism; a stained glass depicting Moses, Elijah, David, and Enoch; and the New Scots display in the Scottish Gallery, which explores the lives and objects associated with refugees and asylum seekers who have made Glasgow their home.

There is also a work by war artist Peter Howson commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 and, outside, what is said to be Britain’s first Zen Garden.

The museum also explores violence, racism, and sectarianism alongside human rights issues, such as those relating to sexuality, education, torture, the law and refugees and the freedom of movement.

Phillip Mendelsohn, chairman of Interfaith Glasgow, said: “Interfaith Glasgow is delighted that St. Mungo’s Museum is reopening, as it’s such an important resource to the faith communities of Glasgow and the wider community.

“As a city with many refugees and asylum seekers, sharing the story of the many faiths in the City is important in building community cohesion.

“The importance of St Mungo’s extends far beyond the city as it is one of the few museums of comparative religion in the world and is unique in the UK.

“We look forward to renewing our partnership working with the wonderful team at the museum and, especially, to being able to deliver our ever-popular Faith To Faith events in person again.”

The museum is open every day from 10am to 5pm, except on Fridays and Sundays, when it opens at 11am.

– The Heavenly Creatures – Angels in Faith, History and Popular Culture exhibition will be open, although the shop and cafe will remain closed for now.