HISTORIANS and anti-racist campaigners are calling on Glasgow's museums and art galleries to come clean about the cultural legacy of slavery and set up a memorial to the city's involvement in the slave trade.

Critics including Professor Tom Devine, a Scottish historian, and Jatin Haria, director of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights, said Glasgow had an "obligation of disclosure" when it comes to the slave links to public art, and proposed a series of public plaques to recognise the impact of slave money.

There were also calls for Glasgow to follow in the footsteps of Liverpool, Bristol and London by creating a permanent museum or exhibition to slavery – the lack of which was branded an "anomaly".

The remarks follow the Sunday Herald's revelation last week that 13 oil paintings held in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum can be traced back to a wealth built on slave labour in the Caribbean.

Bonnie Greer OBE, who sits on the British Museum's board of trustees, said the public should decide whether the works must be taken down or sold and called for all details of slave links to artworks to be made "available to the public".

Haria, whose organisation runs tours of Glasgow's slave history, said the city's involvement in slavery is "very much covered up".

He said: "I would like to see some sort of commemoration. The Scottish Government did commit itself to having something as part of the 200th [anniversary] of abolition, but I've heard no more about it."

Asked whether art collected or commissioned from slave wealth should have those details publicly displayed, he commented: "If it had Nazi artwork links people would be crying out for it to be exposed, so why not?" He also suggested a public memorial and plaques on building created with profits from slavery.

While the full extent of artworks, buildings and other artefacts funded by slavery in Glasgow remains unknown, some prominent pieces exist. A portrait of John Glassford, believed to be one of Europe's biggest tobacco traders in the 1700s, sits in the People's Palace with a plaque explaining its slave history. His black servant was originally included in the picture, but was either removed in the 19th century, when slavery was seen as sinful, or faded with time.

Professor Devine said slavery permeated every part of Glasgow life and suggested there was a "general ignorance" about this aspect of the city's past today. Asked whether there should be a permanent slavery museum or exhibition, he said: "Absolutely."

Dr Nick Draper, part of a University College London team behind a new database of slave compensation payments, said there were hundreds of cultural items across the UK directly linked to slavery.

Asked whether art with slave links should have those details made public, he said: "I do feel there is an obligation of disclosure."

Glasgow Life said the city had put on more than a dozen exhibitions, talks and events about slavery in recent years and will hold a major exhibition in 2014 giving "critical attention" to Glasgow's slave links.

A spokesman said: "Glasgow's collection contains items which were donated to the city and may have been purchased through the proceeds of slavery. The collection reflects the whole history of the city and doesn't airbrush the mistakes of the past which will be reflected in a major exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum next year."