A new display – inspired by the achievements of the Scottish inventor James Watt – has been launched at Riverside Museum in Glasgow.

Going Green – The Drive for Energy Efficiency (sponsored by Aggreko), considers James Watt’s pioneering spirit and legacy in a modern-day context.

Neil Johnson-Symington, curator of Transport and Technology with Glasgow Museums, said: “The inventor James Watt was full of ambition from the beginning.

“A determined, gifted engineer who changed our world forever, he has been honoured across the globe. As this new display shows, his legacy lives on. It is also a wonderful demonstration of our commitment to contemporary collecting.

“We are very grateful to Aggreko for their support in enabling us to realise this fantastic new display. Everyone agrees new ways of powering our nation are needed. It is our hope Going Green – The Drive for Energy Efficiency will challenge young minds to think like James Watt and go on and make a fundamental difference to the future of our planet.”

Watt’s development of the steam engine, 250 years ago, made it more efficient – radically reducing the amount of coal required and driving the Industrial Revolution.

The new display at Riverside, the city’s transport museum, looks at today’s need for energy efficiency.

The centrepiece of the exhibits is a Tesla Model S P85+, believed to be the first Tesla acquired by a public museum in Scotland.

It is being shown alongside a rare Honda Insight Mk1, dating back to 2000. It is one of only 239 Mk1s sold in the UK and was the first hybrid car to be acquired for the city’s renowned Transport and Travel collection.

Chris Clarkson, who donated the Tesla, and Charles Collins, who donated the Honda, visited the museum to help launch the new display.

The display also includes an item donated by a modern-day James Watt – that’s James Watt, the founder of the beer company Brewdog. He donated artwork from the firm’s Make Earth Great Again (mega) beer and a bottle of it too.

The Brewdog boss said: “From the moment America decided to withdraw from the Paris Accord our planet has been on the clock – so we brewed a beer to remind global leaders to prioritise issues relate to Climate Change.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow Life, which runs the Riverside, said: “Going Green – The Drive for Energy Efficiency shows the concern for our world is universal, while highlighting that we can all make a positive difference to planet Earth. The display considers how we test air quality, monitor oceans and make personal statements about the environmental dangers our world faces.”

The new display also features a short film which relates to themes of energy efficiency and environmental monitoring as well as bringing to life the many diverse objects on show.

Chris Clarkson donates his Tesla Model S P85+, 2018 (Image copyright CSG CIC Glasgow Museums)
Chris Clarkson donated his Tesla Model S P85+ to the exhibition at Riverside. (Image copyright CSG CIC Glasgow Museums)


Riverside Museum, on the banks of the River Clyde, offers free entry (although donations are welcome). The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, except Friday and Sunday – when the museum opens at 11 a.m. The postcode is G3 8RS.

Highlights at the venue include a 1900 recreated Glasgow street with shops, pub and subway station and a huge transport collection from cars and trains to skateboards and wheelchairs.

Going Green – The Drive for Energy Efficiency is located on the ground floor of the museum, near the front door, as you enter from the car park.

For more information, visit http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk