The Museums of Glasgow

Glasgow has a rich history and is full of culture, which is why the city is home to several impressive museums. All of these museums are free of charge to anyone who is interested in learning about the history and culture of Scotland.

Founded in 1807, The Hunterian is Scotland’s oldest public museum and home to one of the largest collections outside the National Museums. The museum is located within the grounds of the University of Glasgow and contains a variety of different exhibitions in the fields of history, natural history, technology and medicine.

One of the biggest exhibitions of the museum deals with the Roman Empire’s expansion into Scotland and the construction of the Antonine Wall. Other exhibitions showcase artifacts of Ancient Egyptian or Polynesian cultures. In the picture below you can see Polynesian armor made out of coconut bark and a wooden sword fitted with shark teeth.

The museum also contains a variety of dinosaur fossils and a skeleton of the extinct dire wolf, which most you probably know from the Game of Thrones series.


The Riverside Museum is a futuristic looking building near the River Clyde and is home to some of the world’s finest cars, bicycles, ship models, trams and locomotives. Its exhibitions also illustrate the history of the city of Glasgow in the last two hundred years and portray Glasgow’s involvement in major historical events. Located within the museum is a replica of a typical Glaswegian street at the beginning of the 20th century, with all its shops and public buildings accessible to the visitors.


Sarah Mercer vs. The Robots …

… does not only sound like a badass action movie title but was also the beginning of Sarah Mercer’s plenary session about the psychologies of learners and teachers. She started her talk by rejecting this new trend of replacing teachers with technology and talked about the importance of human interactions in language teaching. She did not only talk about learner-teacher relationships and the importance of looking after one’s wellbeing in order to be a successful teacher but also field tested her patented ‘clapping and raising one’s hand’-method for acquiring attention in an auditorium with an audience of a several hundred listeners talkers.

Another very interesting talk today was called ‘Creative use of language through humor’, which was a delightful session in which we learned about using wordplays, cartoons and acronyms to make our future lessons more fun.


In between talks we took some time to explore the city and visit the University of Glasgow (after a short stop at a pub, of course :D). The university with its beautiful architecture looks just like something out of a Harry Potter movie and we felt like we were visiting Hogwarts. We also explored the Hunterian Museum, which is located within university grounds, but more on that in a later blog post … 😉

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After this little detour into the city we went back to the conference for a few more sessions. The most interesting of these talks was a session titled ‘From Teacher to Business Owner’, in which an American ‘language consultant’ talked about how we as teachers could start our own business and make a lot of money by giving lessons to corporations and wealthy individuals. It was interesting because it was something entirely different compared to the other talks I had seen so far and it opened my eyes to the vast private teaching industry that I did not know existed. She claimed that with the right niche and clients we could charge around 400$ per hour and clients would be willing to pay that. However, it seemed to me that her clients entirely consisted of Asian business men and Saudi oil magnates, which is not really the crowd I want to teach in my future career and asking Austrian teenagers to pay 400$ per lesson is not really a sustainable business model :D.

Great expectations …

I have great expectations of the IATEFL conference. Everything I’ve heard so far was really impressive and I hope that I will learn a lot from the different workshops and lectures. I’m really looking forward to learning about new teaching methods and gathering exciting teaching materials, which I can later put into practice.

I’ve also never been to Scotland even though was always fascinated by the Scottish culture. I’m looking forward to strolling through the streets of Glasgow and exploring the fascinating architecture and homely pubs.

Glasgow, here I come! 🙂