IT first opened its doors in 1898 by the Earl of Rosebery and was intended to provide a cultural centre for the people of Glasgow.
Commanding a prominent place in Glasgow Green, the oldest public space in Glasgow, the People’s Palace has offered visitors an insight into the development of the city and the story of its people, from the 1700s to the late 20th century.
One of its most popular exhibits however is Sir Billy Connolly’s infamous ‘Banana Boots’, designed for him in 1975 by the Glasgow pop artist Edmund Smith. The boots made their first appearance on stage in August of that year, at the Music Hall in Aberdeen.
However, the People’s Palace was one of dozens of city venues forced to close their doors during lockdown last year. It is run by Glasgow Life, the arms-length organisation which runs culture and leisure services for Glasgow City Council which was severely hit by the pandemic losing £38million last year.
Now with an agreed funding deal with the city council, Glasgow Life will receive a guaranteed £100m over the next four years as it begins its road to recovery. However, with income severely impacted last year, predicted estimated income for 2020/21 is just £6.4m.
More than 90 of its 171 venues have been able to reopen and now the People’s Palace has reopened its doors to the public, however, the Winter Gardens will not reopen at this time as work to secure funding that will support the reopening of the venue remains ongoing.
Glasgow Life, which is a charitable trust, has been adapting People’s Palace to enable visitors to safely return to another of the city’s most loved visitor attractions.
Following the reopening of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Riverside and the Gallery of Modern Art, the People’s Palace will reopen every Wednesday and Thursday initially, from 10am-5pm.
Staff have undertaken Covid-19 awareness training and there will be an increased presence to help the public navigate the new one-way layout and ensure a memorable visitor experience.
Councillor David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life and depute leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “We know how popular the People’s Palace is so it’s great we have reopened and welcomed people back. The museum will be alive with visitors but we are still operating in a pandemic and that has required some changes and not all displays will be open. We know how keen people are to return to what for many is their favourite museum in Glasgow, but we must ensure everyone feels safe and confident to come inside again.
“Visiting museums has a positive effect on our overall wellbeing and reopening another of the city’s most popular museums will provide further free access to art and culture for everyone, especially during school holidays.”
While the city remains in level two and social distancing restrictions are in place, visitors need to pre-book a free ticket online for a specific date and time. Entry to the museum remains free.
Booking tickets in advance helps the museum team to manage visitor numbers, reduce queues and maintain physical distancing.
Free tickets will be available to book from at www.glasgowmuseums.com and will be released in two week batches.
Signage is installed throughout the museum to encourage physical distancing and increased hygiene measures are in place.
The number of visitors each hour will be limited to enable the smooth introduction of new procedures and to ensure people continue to enjoy the experience.