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Museums and galleries

Museums and galleries

Museums and galleries

Glasgow is packed with world-class museums and galleries, many of which are free to visit. There really is something for everyone.

Iconic museums

Large red sandstone building with green space in the foreground
Modern building with glass fronted exterior and large sailing ship docked at the riverside

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was ranked in Lonely Planet's top 500 experiences in the world (2020). With one of Europe's finest civic art collections, you'll find everything from dinosaurs to Dutch Masters.

The award-winning Riverside Museum houses the city’s vast transport collection and street scenes from a bygone era. Moored alongside the museum is the Tall Ship – an icon of Glasgow’s shipbuilding heritage. Visit glasgowlife.org.uk and thetallship.com to find out more.

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Move forward in time to the city’s thriving contemporary art scene and visit the Gallery of Modern Art, Scotland’s most popular modern art museum, which is located within a stunning neo-classical city centre building. Visit the Glasgow Museums' website to find out about current exhibitions.

The Burrell Collection will be on everyone's must-visit list when it reopens in March 2022 following an ambitious building upgrade and redisplay. Sir William Burrell devoted most of his life to amassing one of the world’s greatest, personal collections which he gifted to the city in 1944. Visit the Burrell Collection website to learn more.

History and heritage

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The Hunterian Museum, housed within the University of Glasgow, is Scotland’s oldest museum and one of the country’s most important cultural assets, boasting extraordinary sights from scientific instruments to objects from Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages.

The Mackintosh House at The Hunterian Art Gallery, recreates in beautiful detail, the home that Charles Rennie Mackintosh shared with his wife Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. The Art Gallery is also home to the world’s largest permanent display of James McNeill Whistler work. Head to The Hunterian website for more information and opening hours.

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Tenements are Glasgow's iconic, sandstone buildings which are split into apartments. A true hidden gem, The Tenement House lets you discover tenement life as it was in the early 20th century. The house was lived in by Miss Agnes Toward from 1911 until 1965, who lovingly preserved many of her possessions. Find out more on the National Trust for Scotland's website.

Art and design

Person standing on platform in the sea with head dress on

A former tram depot, Tramway was turned into an internationally-acclaimed venue for contemporary visual and performing art as part of Glasgow’s year as City of Culture 1990. An international art space which commissions, produces and presents contemporary arts projects, Tramway is also home to the Hidden Gardens. Visit tramway.org to learn more.

Housed in a building designed by Victorian architect Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) is another popular creative hub with a year-round programme including cutting-edge exhibitions, film and performance. Head to the Centre for Contemporary Arts' website to find out what's on.

Hidden gems

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In the heart of the Merchant city lies a true hidden gem. Visit the Glasgow Police Museum (winner of the 'Best Day Out Award' at The Glasgow Awards 2019) and discover the history of the oldest police force in the UK. For opening times visit policemuseum.org.uk.

The Glasgow Women’s Library welcomes visitors from around the corner and across the world into their library and museum, which celebrates the lives and achievements of women, sharing fascinating stories from the past through heritage walks, exhibitions and archives. Find out more about the collection at womenslibrary.org.uk.

The Museum of Piping holds 300 years of piping heritage. The themed display focuses on the Scottish tradition, with bagpipes thought to date back to the 18th century. Visit The National Piping Centre's website to discover more.

Article last updated: September 2021

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