Glasgow Museum Stages First Display Chronicling Work Of Alcoholics Anonymous
6 October 2017, 14:08
The world's first museum display on the work of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has opened in Glasgow.
The exhibition details the society's history and ongoing work from its first meeting in Scotland in 1948 into a country-wide organisation helping countless people affected by alcoholism.
The organisation was founded in the US in 1935 by stockbroker Bill Wilson and doctor Bob Smith, two alcoholics determined to stay sober.
It is estimated more than one million weekly meetings are now held worldwide, although the organisation keeps no personal information on its members and asks only their first name.
AA is thought to have been brought to Scotland by Sir Philip Dundas who travelled to the US to find out about the work of the organisation.
The first Scottish AA branch meeting was held in a Perth church vestry with six men.
The exhibition at Kelvingrove Museum, titled Darkness into Light: The story of Alcoholics Anonymous in Scotland, features early photographs, documents, letters and newspaper clippings that chart the vital role of the group.
AA World Services based in New York confirmed that it is the first museum display of its kind.
David McDonald, chair of Glasgow Life, said: "AA Scotland play a hugely valuable role in all areas of society today, offering hope and recovery for those who want it.
"This new display charts the organisation's history in Scotland. Since its first meeting in 1948 AA has helped thousands of people across the country who have been affected by this illness.
"Glasgow is proud to host the world's first museum display on AA, as confirmed by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, New York.
"It is a great privilege to be part of it. We hope it will inform people of the group's worthwhile work and, for those who may need it, act as a signpost towards the help which is available."
AA member Martin said: "AA does incredible work in every community in Scotland. As a member I'm honoured to have helped put this exhibition together.
"I hope anyone who sees it and who feels they could benefit from going to a meeting will take that first, often daunting, step and go along. I am eternally grateful I did.
"I'm delighted to see the display open in such a prestigious building as Kelvingrove and whilst it is dedicated to alcoholics worldwide, particular recognition and thanks must go to the late Jimmy M whose vision made it possible."
The exhibition runs until January 18 next year.