Jun 2 2011 By Fraser Wilson
GLASGOW'S latest visitor attraction, the s74m Riverside Museum, was hailed a "shining beacon of architectural and engineering innovation" as it swung it's doors open for a pre-opening glimpse this week.
City Council leader Gordon Matheson claimed the museum - a state of the art replacement for the Transport Museum - proved Glasgow was still at the cutting edge of design and technology.
Cycling legend Graeme Obree's hand-made bikes and the car which steered Colin McRae to world rally championship victory are among the exhibits on show at the stunning attraction which will open its doors in less than three weeks' time.
Standing on the banks of the River Clyde, it promises to shed light on the transport, engineering and shipbuilding legacy which made Glasgow the "second city of the empire", as well as reflecting its more recent transformation into a "global destination for culture and sport".
Mr Matheson said: "Glasgow's history as an industrial giant, a global leader in engineering and shipbuilding, is celebrated in an architectural masterpiece which shows that we remain at the cutting edge of design and technology.
"On the same spot where ships and paddle steamers were built, the launch of the Riverside Museum is an occasion which both Glasgow and Scotland can be proud of.
"While we celebrate our past, we are determined to look to the future. Indeed, now there are more people working in Glasgow in culture and tourism than ever worked in the shipyards even at their height.
"Glasgow is a city transformed: from post-industrial wasteland to a global destination for culture and sport. The eyes of the world will be on us in 2014 as we host the Commonwealth Games but, as the Riverside Museum demonstrates, we have more than just our sporting legacy to shout about."
Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, the museum houses more than 3000 exhibits in 150 interactive displays.
Among the attractions are large steam locomotives and a recreation of a city street as it looked in the 1900s. More recent features are the hand-made bikes which made Obree a world champion and the late Colin McRae's Subaru Impreza which he drove to win the World Rally Car Championship.
Visitors can also see one of the bikes used by Scottish cyclist Danny MacAskill who became an internet hit with his gravity-defying stunts.
Around 1200 people have worked on the museum project since it was given the go-ahead in 2002 and work began on-site in 2007, officials said.
The Riverside Museum is Ms Hadid's first major public commission to open in the UK. The award-winning British-Iraqi architect said: "The Riverside Museum rises from Glasgow's great industrial past to become an integral element of the modern city which is embracing its future."
The museum opens to the public on June 21 and will be free to enter. It was funded by the city council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Riverside Museum Appeal.