Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Situated in the centre of Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is the focal point of Kelvingrove Park, an 84 acre green area created in 1852 as a place of recreation for the city’s residents.

The history of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove houses one of Europe’s great art collections – it’s collection of French 19th century paintings includes works by Monet, Gauguin and Renoir. Further highlights are Rembrandt’s ‘Man in Armour’, ‘Christ and the Adulteress’ by Titian and Salvador Dali’s famous ‘Christ of St John of the Cross’. Scottish art includes paintings by the Scottish Colourists and the Glasgow Boys, as well as the art of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The museum also has one of the finest collections of arms and armour in the world and a vast natural history collection.

The construction of Kelvingrove was partly financed by the proceeds of the 1888 International Exhibition. It was designed by Sir John W. Simpson and E.J. Milner Allen and opened in 1901 as the Palace of Fine Arts for the Glasgow International Exhibition held in that year.

There is an urban myth in Glasgow that the building was accidentally built back-to-front, and the architect jumped from one of the towers in despair upon realising his mistake. However, the grand entrance was always intended to face into Kelvingrove Park.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum today

The museum re-opened in 2006 after a three-year refurbishment, holding 22 galleries with the exhibits organised into two halves; Life and Expression. The Life galleries represent natural history (including taxidermy), human history (such as artifacts from ancient Egypt) and prehistory while the Expression galleries include the fine art collections. In 2007 it was the most visited museum in the UK outside London, and since then it remains one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions.

Getting to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

The gallery is located on Argyle Street, in the West End of the city, on the banks of the River Kelvin. It is adjacent to Kelvingrove Park, and situated near the main campus of the University of Glasgow on Gilmorehill.

The nearest stations are Partick and Exhibition Centre, and buses 17 and 77 stop just outside.


Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland&aposs most popular visitor attractions. The museum has 22 galleries, housing a range of exhibits, including Renaissance art, taxidermy, and artifacts from ancient Egypt.

The gallery is located on Argyle Street, on the banks of the River Kelvin. The construction of Kelvingrove was partly financed by the proceeds of the 1888 International Exhibition held in Kelvingrove Park.

Kelvingrove was reopened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2006 after a three-year closure for major refurbishment and restoration.

Collections

The museum&aposs collections came mainly from the McLellan Galleries and from the old Kelvingrove House Museum in Kelvingrove Park. It has one of the finest collections of arms and armour in the world and a vast natural history collection. The art collection includes many outstanding European artworks, including works by the Old Masters (Vecellio&aposs Madonna and Child with Saint Jerome and Saint Dorothy, Rembrandt van Rijn, Gerard de Lairesse, and Jozef Israëls), French Impressionists (such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Vincent van Gogh and Mary Cassatt), Dutch Renaissance, Scottish Colourists and exponents of the Glasgow School.

The museum houses Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí. The copyright of this painting was bought by the curator at the time after a meeting with Dalí himself. For a period between 1993 and 2006, the painting was moved to the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art.

The museum also contains a large gift of the decorative arts from Anne Hull Grundy, an art collector and philanthropist, covering the history of European jewellery in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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The gallery is located on Argyle Street, in the West End of the city, on the banks of the River Kelvin (opposite the architecturally similar Kelvin Hall, which was built in matching style in the 1920s, after the previous hall had been destroyed by fire). It is adjacent to Kelvingrove Park and is situated near the main campus of the University of Glasgow on Gilmorehill.

The original Kelvingrove Museum opened in the latter half of the 19th century. It was housed in an enlarged 18th century mansion called Kelvingrove House, to the east of the current site. [3]

The construction of Kelvingrove was partly financed by the proceeds of the 1888 International Exhibition held in Kelvingrove Park. The gallery was designed by Sir John W. Simpson and E.J. Milner Allen and opened in 1901, as the Palace of Fine Arts for the Glasgow International Exhibition held in that year. [5] It is built in a Spanish Baroque style, follows the Glaswegian tradition of using Locharbriggs red sandstone, and includes an entire program of architectural sculpture by George Frampton, William Shirreffs, [6] Francis Derwent Wood and other sculptors.

The centrepiece of the Centre Hall is a concert pipe organ constructed and installed by Lewis & Co. The organ was originally commissioned as part of the Glasgow International Exhibition, held in Kelvingrove Park in 1901. The organ was installed in the concert hall of the exhibition, which was capable of seating 3,000 people. The Centre Hall of the then newly completed Art Gallery and Museum was intended from the beginning to be a space in which to hold concerts. When the 1901 exhibition ended, a Councillor urged the Glasgow Corporation (now Glasgow Council) to purchase the organ, stating that without it, "the art gallery would be a body without a soul". Purchase price and installation costs were met from the surplus exhibition proceeds, and the organ was installed in the Centre Hall by Lewis and Co. The present case front in walnut with non-functional display pipes was commissioned at this time from John W. Simpson. Simpson was the senior partner of Simpson & Milner Allen, architects of the gallery building. [7]

There is an urban myth in Glasgow that the building was accidentally built back-to-front, and the architect jumped from one of the towers in despair upon realising his mistake. In reality, the grand entrance was always intended to face into Kelvingrove Park. [8]

Kelvingrove was reopened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 11 July 2006 after a three-year closure for major refurbishment and restoration. The work, which cost around £35 million, was one third funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and one third by public donations to the appeal, and included a new restaurant and a large basement extension to its display space to accommodate the 8,000 exhibits now on display. [9] A new layout and wayfinding scheme was introduced to make the building more visitor-friendly, which was designed and executed by London-based museum design company, Event Communications. [10] Immediately after its 2003–06 refurbishment, the museum was the most popular free-to-enter visitor attraction in Scotland, recording 2.23 million visitors in 2007. [11] [12] These numbers made it the most visited museum in the United Kingdom outside London that year. [13]

The museum's collections came mainly from the original Kelvingrove Museum and the McLellan Galleries. It has one of the finest collections of arms and armour in the world and a vast natural history collection. The art collection includes many outstanding European artworks, including works by the Old Masters (Vecellio's Madonna and Child with Saint Jerome and Saint Dorothy, Rembrandt van Rijn, Gerard de Lairesse, and Jozef Israëls), French Impressionists (such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Vincent van Gogh and Mary Cassatt), Dutch Renaissance, Scottish Colourists and exponents of the Glasgow School.

The museum houses Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí. The copyright of this painting was bought by the curator at the time after a meeting with Dalí himself. For a period between 1993 and 2006, the painting was moved to the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art.

The museum also contains a large gift of the decorative arts from Anne Hull Grundy, an art collector and philanthropist, covering the history of European jewellery in the 18th and 19th centuries. [14]


Kelvingrove Art Gallery And Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland's most popular free attractions and features 22 themed, state-of-the-art galleries displaying an astonishing 8000 objects.

The collections at Kelvingrove are extensive, wide-ranging and internationally significant. They include natural history, arms and armour, art from many art movements and periods of history and much more.

The most famous painting on display at Kelvingrove is the Salvador Dali masterpiece ‘Christ of St John of the Cross’. Sir Roger the Asian elephant is another big museum attraction. There is even a Spitfire plane hanging from the ceiling of the west court.

The refurbished building is an attraction in its own right and Kelvingrove welcomes families, its displays having been designed with children in mind. Besides all the exhibits, Kelvingrove has a restaurant, a café and a gift shop.

Please see our access statement for more information on our inclusive and accessible facilities and services.

Explore this attraction with the ScotlandVR App

Getting here by road:

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is in the west end of Glasgow. There is pay and display car parking at the venue, but space is limited.
The car park has 10 spaces reserved for blue badge holders. These spaces are free of charge and there is no time restriction.

Access to Kelvingrove Car Park is signposted from Sauchiehall Street into Kelvin Way.

There is also car parking available at The Kelvin Hall at Bunhouse Road - just opposite Kelvingrove.

Public Transport:

From the nearest information centre:- It is easy to reach the museum on public transport from the city centre. First Bus services 2, 3, 19A and 747 all stop directly outside Kelvingrove

Getting there by railway:- Kelvingrove is fifteen minutes' walk from Partick train station and ten minutes' walk from Charing Cross train station.

Kelvingrove is five minutes' walk from Kelvinhall subway station and ten minutes' walk from Kelvinbridge subway station.


Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Please refer to the latest guidelines on the Scottish Government website for information on the protection level restrictions that apply to your area.

Essential information for planning your visit

  • Our current opening hours are Mon-Sat, Thu: 10-5pm Fri, Sun: 11-5pm
  • A ticket is required to enter the museum. Tickets are FREE and available to book at the link below. You need to pre-book, at least 24 hours in advance, for a specific date and time.
  • Tickets can be booked for a maximum of 6 people
  • We are unable to accommodate group bookings at this time.
  • Please do not book tickets or visit the museum, if you, or any members of your household, has any symptoms of Coronavirus. Follow up to date medical guidance. More
  • If you should be isolating as part of travel or medical advice please do not visit the museum.
  • Tickets will be released in two week blocks - tickets go live every two weeks on a Thursday, for the two week period beginning the following Monday.
  • Please note tickets are non-transferable. If the ticket holder can no longer visit the museum, please release tickets by contacting the Glasgow Life Box Office at: [email protected]
  • Please ensure you have face coverings to stay safe and protect others.

Book tickets HERE

  • The entrance to the car park is on Kelvin Way and the exit is onto Sauchiehall Street.
  • On arrival please enter via the doors facing the car park. The accessible entrance with access to lifts is located at the ground level, also facing the car park.
  • Wear a face covering to stay safe and protect others. Guidance on face covering exemptions is available from the Scottish Government here .
  • Please do not visit the museum if you, or any members of our household, has any symptoms of Coronavirus.
  • Your e-ticket will be checked on arrival so please have this ready.
  • Please arrive as a group with the ticket holder in attendance to ensure we comply with Test and Protect.
  • Please maintain 2 metre physical distancing during your visit.
  • There is no cloakroom available or facility to store prams.
  • The shop, restaurant and café are currently closed and we can't offer takeaway at this time.
  • We are unable to provide space for packed lunches at this time.
  • Some smaller spaces and hands on displays will be closed during your visit to allow hygiene and physical distancing measures to be maintained.
  • Please observe signage in the venue and any one way routes that are in place.
  • For more information and ways to enhance your visit please visit Glasgow Museums where floor maps can be downloaded.
  • Please ensure children are supervised at all times to ensure physical distancing measures can be maintained.
  • Please wash your hands and use hand sanitiser during your visit.
  • We politely ask that you keep your visit to a maximum of 2 hours to ensure we can offer entry to as many visitors as possible.
  • As it has been throughout this pandemic, the health and wellbeing of our visitors and Glasgow Life staff remains our priority. We will continue to follow the Government’s guidance and ensure that safety is at the heart of how we operate in the current environment.
  • Our visitor charter sets out the safety measures we have introduced to create a safe space and it highlights how you can help protect yourself and others while visiting the museum.

Further information for your visit

  • For information on opening hours, how to enter the museum, what's open, face coverings and more, see our Museum FAQs.
  • Download some suggestions of activities and games that you can play with your household while you are visiting the museum. You can print them at home or view them on your phone and other personal devices. Please note that we won’t be able to provide a paper copy at the venue.

We have acquired VisitBritain’ s Good to Go accreditation . This Industry Standard mark means Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has followed government and industry Covid-19 guidelines, has completed a Risk Assessment and has a process in place to maintain cleanliness and physical distancing.

As it has been throughout this pandemic, the health and wellbeing of all Glasgow Life staff and the public remains our priority. We will continue to follow the Government’s guidance and ensure that safety is at the heart of how we operate in the current environment.

We’ll continue to keep this page up-to-date regarding our response to Covid-19. So whether you need it now, or in the near future, it could be worth a bookmark. You can also follow Glasgow Life on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for our latest updates.

British Sign Language (BSL) users: For more information and the latest updates on Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council services during the coronavirus pandemic, please visit the dedicated BSL section of the council’s website.

Support us: As one of Scotland’s largest charities, Glasgow Life is hugely grateful for the support it has received during the coronavirus pandemic, which has helped us to continue vital work in communities across the city during the most challenging of times. You can continue to help us by donating here.

Get the most up-to-date information on Glasgow Life's response to Covid-19 here.

Kelvingrove Museum opened in 1901 and is a firm favourite with local people and visitors. It has stunning architecture and a family friendly atmosphere.

Explore our 22 galleries and discover everything from art to animals, Ancient Egypt to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and so much more. We also have a changing programme of temporary exhibitions and displays.

If you only have one day in Glasgow, Kelvingrove is a must see!

Follow Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on:

How you can support Glasgow Museums now

Venue Hire at Kelvingrove Museum

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Making the Glasgow Style Exhibition Tour

Group Tours

Away for the day

Community Displays

Accessible toilets

The accessible toilet is located on the right past the enquiries desk.

Assistance dogs

Guide and assistance dogs are welcome.

Hearing loop

Hearing loop available within venue.

You can also visit our British Sign Language and International Sign Video Library here to watch a welcome video for every Glasgow Museum.

Wheelchair access

There is wheelchair and pram access to all public areas using the lifts.

Additional information

View Accessibility Guide on AccessAble the new name for DisabledGo and the Euans Guide website. View the Kelvingrove Floor Plan. Documents can be requested in Braille and large print.

Baby changing

Baby feeding

Full table service is available. No tables are permanently fixed. No chairs are permanently fixed. No chairs have armrests.

Menus are hand held and wall. Menus are not available in Braille or in large print. Picture menus are not available.

Cloakroom

The cloakroom is currently closed.

Parking

The car park is managed by City Parking. Charges are as follows:

Mon-Sun 8am-6pm

  • 1 hour £1.60
  • 2 hours £3.20
  • 3 hours £4.80
  • 4 hours £6.40
  • 5 hours £8.00
  • 10 hours £10.00

Mon-Sun 6pm-8am, £2 flat rate.

There are spaces reserved for blue badge holders, free of charge with no time restrictions. For car park enquiries please contact 0141 276 1830.

Parking is free for Blue Badge holders. Parking spaces for Blue Badge holders do not need to be booked in advance. There is/are 10 Blue Badge parking bay(s) within the car park.

Photography and video recording

At times, Glasgow Life will be on the premises to film and take photos.

Restaurant

Contact number for bookings: 0141 276 9530

Our Museum Shop is located on the ground floor.

Free wifi

The building has free wifi.

‘Away for the Day with Glasgow Museums’ is a booklet full of free family fun. Download the booklet to try something new together as a family.

There is a page for each of our 9 museums. You will find activities, suggestions of family-friendly displays to explore, and ideas for what else there is to see and do nearby.

Families who are new to Glasgow Museums and families who have visited our museums before helped to create this booklet – there are top tips inside.

Glasgow Museums belong to you. You and your family are welcome here. We understand that all families have different interests and needs, and we aim to help you to get what you want from your visit.

Have fun and don’t forget to collect your sticker from reception!

Access multiple language museum guides for Kelvingrove collections.

Train - The closest train stations are Partick (PTK), Charing Cross (CHC) and Exhibition Centre (EXG). These stations are roughly 1 mile away from Kelvingrove.

The lines for these stations run through the Low-Level platforms, at Glasgow Central (GLC) for Partick and Exhibition Centre and Glasgow Queen Street (GLQ) for Partick and Charing Cross.

Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street are roughly 1.5 to 2 miles away from Kelvingrove.

Underground - The closest Subway station is Kelvinhall, which is roughly ½ mile away.

Bus - The bus stops at the front of Kelvingrove, on Argyle Street, have regular services from both directions. Services include:

    - services 2, 3 & 77 - service 17
  • The City Sightseeing buses
  • And the Garelochhead Coaches operated - service 100, which goes from the city centre to the Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove.

Please note: If you are coming into Glasgow by train and planning to use a PlusBus ticket, the 100 bus and the City Sightseeing buses are not covered.

Bike Hire - The Next Bike bicycle hire scheme is also in operation around Glasgow, with locations to pick up and drop off around the city.

Car - Please note: the A814 Clydeside Expressway Westbound will be closed due to major roadworks from Monday 26 October for 6 weeks. Diversions will be in place, if you would travel via this route please allow a little extra time for your journey.

Accessibility - In case it is of use to anyone in your party, the AccessAble website has some useful accessibility information.


Kelvingrove Gallery lowers its Spitfire

The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft. The Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing with cutting-edge sunken rivets had the thinnest possible cross-section, to give the aircraft a higher top speed.

After the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire superseded the Hurricane to become the backbone of RAF Fighter Command and saw action in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific, and South-East Asian theatres.

The Spitfire served in several roles, including interceptor, photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber, and trainer, and it continued to serve in these roles until the 1950s.

The Seafire was a carrier-based adaptation of the Spitfire that served in the Fleet Air Arm from 1942 through to the mid-1950s.

The original airframe was designed to be powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine producing 1,030 hp (768 kW), and later used the powerful Rolls-Royce Griffon engines producing up to 2,340 hp (1,745 kW).

The Spitfire’s performance and capabilities improved over the course of its service life until it was retired in about 1961.


The Scottish Military Research Group

It seems a little unfair to have another article on Kelvingrove after I discussed the Spitfire for our Object of the Month, but there is so much more to Kelvingrove than that, and for those interested in military history, there are quite a number of items to be discovered.

This is not strictly speaking a review of Kelvingrove. I don't have the space to cover all the treasures on display. All I will say is that it houses perhaps the finest collection of art and artefacts in the country (Edinburgh folk may argue with this!).

I've touched on the Spitfire before so I won't dwell on it, but it is the most obviously military item in the museum, and is the focal point of the West Hall, which is devoted to "life" - all the animal items are here, together with ancient Egyptian artefacts.

The West hall also contains the Arms and Armour collection. This used to be on the ground floor, and contained a lot of items on local regiments, as you can see from the "red coats" on display in this photo.

This is how the hall looked before closing for refurbishment some years ago. It's a shame that these items are no longer displayed like this, but times change. Perhaps one day these items will make a return.

The Arms and Armour is now on display upstairs. The first thing you notice is a display of armour immediately facing you. The display looks good, but I can't help feeling the armour looks slightly "static" - perhaps some effort to show more movement would have been better?

The room is dominated by two large glass cases. These show various weapons - swords and shields etc. There is an interesting angle here as part of the display compares man-made weapons with similar items in nature - for example, contrasting the shell of an armadillo with some chainmail.

Around the walls are displays of various artefacts from colonial campaigns. There is no attempt to glorify these campaigns, and there is an interesting use of comments from the people of these civilisations, putting the campaigns of the time into context.

One of my favourite cases shows the complete kit of a Private Baird of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders from the Boer War.

As a Glasgow event, there are displays from the Battle of Langside, in particular this memorial stone which used to mark the point where Mary Queen of Scots viewed the battle. This stone was carved in 1854 by sir George Cathcart and used to stand at Court Knowe.

There are smaller "alcoves" in this room. One features a display on the Holocaust - part of the main room is devoted to this as well. A video display features video testimonies from Holocaust survivors.

A second alcove features items belonging to a Glasgow man named James Keith Gorrie, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. His uniform is in the main case, with drawers containing smaller items which slide out on either side.

The Arms and Armour section is not the only part of the museum of interest to the military historian - there are other items to be found.

The Art Gallery part of the museum includes a number of military subjects. There are several paintings outside the Arms and Armour room which, as the display states, depict pictures of everyday wartime work:

"Pilot and Navigator Confer" - Keith Henderson

"Driver Abdul Ghani" - Henry Lamb

"WAAF Store" - Evelyn Dunbar

"Scottish Policeman" - James Cowie



There are a number of other paintings within the museum. One in particular is very impressive and can be found at the top of one of the staircases.

"The Alma: Forward the 42nd" was painted by Robert Gibb in 1888 and he used real soldiers as models for the subject. It's a fantastic painting - it's difficult to gauge the size of this painting, as it hangs above your head and you can only see it clearly from the top of the stairs. It keeps it out of reach but makes it difficult to see it properly.

Another of the staircases has a similarly large painting, and I include it here as it no doubt contains the images of a number of Victorian officers.

"Queen Victoria at the Glasgow Exhibition" was painted by John Lavery in 1888, and it was hit by a bomb blast in the Second World War - the original frame was destroyed but the canvas has been restored.

I'll be very impressed if anyone can name any of the figures in this painting - Queen Victoria doesn't count as even I can spot her.

There are a few other military subjects, but I wouldn't want to show you everything - Kelvingrove is well worth the visit and you can always find something new when you visit.

One thing you might spot is in the East Hall. Alongthe top of the hall are the names of prominent Scots from History. Among them are a number of military names:

William Wallace and Robert Bruce are no doubt well known to many.

The Art Gallery and Museum are free of charge and is open seven days a week (from 10am every day except Friday and Sunday when it opens at 11) until 5pm. Put it on your list of places you MUST see.


Things to do at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

This stunning building has been entrancing Glasgow’s visitors for over 115 years since opening in 1901 and from the very first moment that people step foot onto the marble floor of the central hall they’re captivated by the diversity of the exhibits on display.

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Inside the museum are over 9,000 artefacts and paintings which depict every aspect of human knowledge, from wildlife to art and literature, and all the way through to Glasgow’s industrial past.

Designed to be informative as well as entertaining, Kelvingrove has gained a reputation for being one of the best places in Glasgow for family days out, with the bonus being there’s absolutely no fee to get in just like the almost-as-popular Riverside Museum and Tall Ship.

As part of a major restoration project the museum was extensively renovated over three years and was re-opened in 2006 with the exhibits organised into two halves Life and Expression.

The Life galleries represent natural history, human history and prehistory while the Expression galleries include the fine art collections. Both themes are staged across 22 state-of-the-art galleries which are large enough to easily take up the majority of your day.

In addition to the permanent displays you’ll find a constantly changing collection of temporary exhibitions that cover subjects ranging from Leonardo Da Vinci to early life on earth and there are frequent talks by some of Britain’s top experts in the fields of art and science.

Most of the talks are free and many of them are aimed at kids, so if you’re trying to encourage an interest in either of these topics you won’t go far wrong by taking them to Kelvingrove.

As far as the art collection goes, Kelvingrove is second only to the galleries of London for the number of visitors it draws annually, with many coming to view the great art collection which is arguably one of the best in Europe.

Here you’ll find masterpieces from Rembrandt, Renoir, Salvador Dali and others alongside antiquities from ancient Egypt and more modern works from the celebrated Glasgow designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

There’s also a pretty good restaurant and café on-site if you’re feeling a little peckish after absorbing all that history and culture and there’s a decent shop if you’re after a memento of your visit.

And on top of all that the museum and gallery building is located right in the heart of Kelvingrove Park which has a whole host of outdoor activities to enjoy if you’re itching to get outside after wandering around indoors all day.

The park is enormous and has been optimized for fun and relaxation with five bowling greens, four tennis courts, three kids play areas, an orienteering course and two cafés (which I imagine you’ll be needing after getting involved with that lot).

All in all, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – and Kelvingrove Park – is a must-see visitor attraction if you’re planning to spend any time in Glasgow.

Because the museum is so central it’s easy to use it as a reference point to explore the rest of the city so after your visit read my Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Glasgow for further inspiration.

The highlights

  • Like most museums in Scotland, Kelvingrove is completely free to visit.
  • There’s an incredible amount of things to see and do which makes a visit there a top family day out.
  • Whether you have got an interest in science or natural history you’re bound to be entertained in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Visiting tips

  • Take a walk around Kelvingrove Park after you’ve visited the museum. The park is massive and makes a good place to unwind from the busy city.
  • Kelvingrove Museum is also close to the Hunterian Museum which is a bit of a hidden gem in the grounds of the city university.
  • The on-site café is good but there are loads of cheaper alternatives in Argyle Street outside the museum.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Museum opened in 1901 and today remains a firm favourite with local people and visitors. It has stunning architecture and displays an astonishing 8000 objects including natural history, arms and armour, art from many periods and much more.

The challenge

Like many organisations, legacy IT architecture was getting in the way of creating and delivering engaging digital guides for visitors. Kelvingrove needed an easy-to-use and flexible tool that could sit alongside the existing collections management systems and support the creation of narratives in multiple languages.

Our solution

Smartify integrated the collection of 8000 objects in a matter of weeks. Our cloud-based software catalogued and organised the collection making it easy for staff to add additional content such as Youtube videos, hyperlinks to the museum website, maps and audio guides. The intuitive design made it easy for users to understand and we also ran training sessions for staff and volunteers to get them set-up and running with the software.

The results

Kelvingrove use the Smartify platform to deliver tours in French and German, as well as working with community groups to create tours with interpretation from local people. With such a diverse collection spanning everything from a huge elephant ‘Sir Roger’ to a Spitfire plane hanging from the ceiling, Kelvingrove has relied on Smartify’s flexible software to present each collection item in its best light.

Councillor David McDonald Chair of Glasgow Life said: “More and more people have a smartphone with them when they visit. Smartify allows you to scan a favourite piece of art and read a little more about the work, it’s really easy to use and you can re-look at the painting once the gallery has closed for the night.”


Everything you need to know about Kelvingrove Art Gallery

Get all the info you need for planning a big day out at Scotland's most popular museum.

THE most popular free to enter attraction in Scotland and most visited museum in the UK outside of London, Kelvingrove is also one of the best days out in Glasgow.

For over 115 years the art gallery and museum has been at the heart of life in the city, a place visited by pretty much everyone as a child and the first suggestion for a day out for families.

It has over 9000 artefacts and paintings on display and is arguably, the most stunning building in the city, completely renovated over three years and re-opened in 2006.

Okay, so why are you so excited about this?

If you can find me one Glaswegian who didn’t visit here as a child - and completely fall in love with the place - I will be astounded. Most would enter the building at full pelt, skid across the marble floor of the Centre Hall on their knees while disapproving visitors quietly shook their heads. From there you could run off in any direction, up the passageways to the dinosaurs, suits of armour and a host of other treasures.

So what’s the theme?

Theme? We don&apost need no stinkin’ theme! Who needs a theme when you have everything - and I really do mean everything - under one roof? Wildlife and war, art and literature, Glasgow’s history and that of the wider world, they really do have the lot. The displays are interactive, guides are on hand to take you round and they run a host of events, mini-classes and exhibitions all aimed at youngsters. Look, they also have a full size Spitfire suspended from the ceiling. Tell me you’re not impressed.

Okay, so you’ve got me. But don’t they have art as well?

They certainly do my friend and if you want to see the Glasgow Style in all its glory, this is the place. The work of Charles Rennie MacKintosh and the Glasgow School is prominent, but so to are the Old Masters, Impressionists (including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh), the Dutch Renaissance and Scottish Colourists. And they also have a jewel in the crown, a painting that is known the world over.

Wait a minute, I know this one - the big man and the jaggy bunnet?

You’re quoting Connolly and trying to be funny, but you’re wrong. Yes Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross depicts Jesus on the cross, looking down on a shoreline and fisherman, but there’s no crown of thorns, no nails, wounds or blood for that matter. Dali’s decision to show him without the usual marks of crucifixion was made following a dream and today his painting sits in a room apart, allowing visitors a moment of quiet contemplation. The Christ of St John of the Cross cost the museum £8200 in the 1950s and they have since turned down an £80m offer from the Spanish Government for it. One little bit of trivia though - students at Glasgow’s School of Art protested against its purchase, arguing that it was an affront to local artists.

So when’s it open and where can I park the car?

Monday to Thursday and Saturdays from 10am until 5pm, opening at the later time of 11am on Fridays and Sundays. There are plenty of parking spaces outside, although you’d better make sure you have change for the meter.

And can I get something to eat there?

You certainly can. There’s a very nice little van outside, serving coffees and hot food and inside they have an excellent cafe and restaurant, which looks out across the grounds towards the park. It’s pretty reasonably priced and they have a children’s menu. Be warned though, to get there you have to get the kids past the museum shop - crammed with toys and other goodies.

Just one more thing, isn’t this place back to front?

And the architect topped himself after seeing how they had built it? No. That’s a load of nonsense. Sorry, an urban legend. What more do you want me to say?


Watch the video: Glasgow, Scotland: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - Rick Steves Europe Travel Guide