Sunday, February 15, 2009

Virtual Mitchell, Mitchell Museum Glasgow, Scotland

The Virtual Mitchell is a selection of photographs, postcards and other images that highlight the city of Glasgow, its residents and surrounding areas. Most of the images are 20th century, but there are some from the 19th. The majority of these images were selected from the Mitchell Library's Archives and Special Collections. Glasgow museums and private citizens lent the rest.

The selection appears to be based on those subjects of local interest: Glasgow neighborhoods, architecture, local culture and artistry, people, industry, education, and daily life across the socioeconomic spectrum.

Searches can be made by area (neighborhood), street, subject or by browsing. The subject search list includes 55 categories based on the perceived subject of the image. Some of the categories are general ("Parks", "Fountains", "Railways"), some are uniquely Glaswegian (the rivers "Clyde" and "Kelvin"), and some are quite particular ("Child welfare", "Cleansing", and "Dancing"). Search results are displayed by thumbnail images in galleries of six. Within the gallery, each image's caption includes the image's street address and date of the the photograph (if both are known). There is also a feature by which a user can create a personal collection of photos (presumably to be purchased). Clicking once on the image will lead to the item's record that includes: record number, caption, description, area, street, number (address) and date the photo was taken. This page also offers options to email the image as well as links to other images with similar metadata. For example an image of "The City Library" within a "Maryhill" search will also provide links to "Libraries", "Maryhill Road", "Maryhill" and "Libraries". Search terms can be combined. "Pubs" + "Dumbarton" in the search box will show pubs identified on Dumbarton Road.

The images are JPEG and can be enlarged once without magnification capabilities and feature location, type, dimension, file size and alternative text.

People interested in Scottish genealogy and Glasgow's history would find this collection interesting. Due to the large number of images featuring architecture, people at work and play, and industry, researchers in those fields might find the images useful.


  1. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.