The St Mungo Museum of Religious Art and Life will reopen, over two years since visitors were last allowed in, during which time it had to fight for its very existence.
St Mungo’s has been closed since that very first wave of Covid in March 2020. During that time, various groups have campaigned not just to get St Mungo’s open again, but to prevent it from permanent closure.
The long-awaited reopening date will still be a while away, however, according to Duncan Dornan, head of museums at Glasgow Life — the charity in charge of operating the city’s cultural and sporting facilities. He told The Art Newspaper the museum is expected to reopen “within the next few months”, before a potential revamp as well.
Staffing issues were cited as the reason behind St Mungo’s pandemic-enforced closure dragging on so long. In February, the Glasgow City Council announced plans to earmark £650,000 from their 2022-23 budget to aid St Mungo’s reopening.
The Glasgow Life website describes St Mungo’s as a space to “promote understanding and respect between people of different faiths and those of none.”
Any future refurbishment will have to incorporate these values, warns Philip Mendelsohn, chair of the charity Interfaith Glasgow. “We’ve got to avoid St Mungo’s being mainly about Christianity, with an add-on about other faiths.”
St Mungo’s was originally built as a visitor centre for Glasgow’s cathedral, before being turned into the interfaith museum in 1993. It is the only faith museum of its kind in Britain.