Permanent Collection - The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum

The museum's collections consist of some 150,000 items held in trust by Dundee City Council.

These collections are accessible via our displays in at McManus Galleries and Museum and Broughty Castle Museum, with a few objects of an astronomical nature in show at the Mills Observatory. These displays are only the tip of the iceberg for the whole collection, most of which is held in reserve in the museum stores. These items are accessible via our Collections Unit on Barrack St, just stone's throw from The McManus in the heart of Dundee

Here you can ask to see our natural history collections. These include our geological collections comprise some 6000 specimens of rocks, minerals and fossils. Highlights include fossil fish from the local sandstone, used to build much of old Dundee and colourful agates from the ancient lavas of the area. Our botanical collections, some 15,000 herbarium specimens, include the important U K Duncan herbarium of Scottish plants as well as significant holdings of mosses and lichens. Zoology material includes, bird and mammal mounts, 2,000 skins plus associated skeletal specimens and over 500 spirit-preserved fish. The largest numbers of items are in our invertebrate zoology, which is by far our largest group, has both foreign, historic material and well-documented modern specimens of Scottish origin. Butterflies and moths and beetles are particularly well represented.

Within our human history collection we have items relating to community history with objects relating to the community and domestic life of Dundee, including civic history and recreation along with costume. There are letters from missionary Mary Slessor, and an extensive collection of local photographs. Also we have social history. Areas of interest in the Social History collections range from Dundee's industrial and working history, to shipbuilding and transport. Key elements include the superb Whaling collection, and items connected with the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster such as a girder from the original bridge. Evidence of early man is available in our The Early History collections comprise regional archaeology dating from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages drawn from the Dundee area, foreign artefacts representing ancient Egypt and more recent world culture, and an extensive collection of coins and medals.

Our art collection includes decorative art / crafts, including an important collection of Scottish Provincial Silver, about 400 items, with excellent coverage of all known Dundee makers. Ceramics range from ornamental Japanese Satsuma ware and English 18th century porcelain to an expanding collection of Contemporary Studio Ceramics by mainly Scottish makers. 21st century art glass is an exciting new area. We also have an important fine art collection that contains a richly varied collection with over 4000 works - oil paintings, watercolours, drawings, artists' prints and sculptures. It has an excellent coverage of 19th and 20th century Scottish Art - with notable Dundee artists, John Duncan and McIntosh Patrick. Fine Art Photography, by Joseph McKenzie among others, is a new area and we are active collecting art using new media and paintings.

< back to Museum's profile