Whatever the reason may be, you will find that the Scottish museums are full of fascinating visual arts displays and interesting relics. From the national collections and the main itinerant exhibitions in the city to the small local private galleries, you can admire a great variety of works from great international artists, famous Scottish painters and local artisan masters.
Many great museums also offer delicious cafés where one can enjoy local cuisine and desserts, a perfect break to relax for a few hours.
During a recent business trip to the city of Glasgow, I got the chance to visit one of the best museums I have ever got the opportunity to see: the Kelvingrove Gallery.
In the heart of the present-day West End neighbourhood in the old Scottish capital, this museum was built on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition of 1888 and inaugurated as a museum in 1901. Its Spanish baroque architecture and reddish stones make it a symbolic element of the landscape of this part of the city and it was built in the same style as the University in front of it.
The Kelvingrove’s Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland's most popular free attractions and has 22 themed, state-of-the-art galleries, showing an amazing 8,000 items.
The collections at Kelvingrove are large and significant at the international level. They include a natural history museum, a weapons and armours gallery and art works from many artistic movements and historical periods.
The Kelvingrove Museum collections are very eclectic (furniture, armours, paintings, sculptures, antiques...) presented in a somewhat outdated fashion, in the manner of old museums. At each new piece, a new theme: from a room devoted to the painting of the Glasgow Boys (end of the 19th century), to a room full of classical period dresses, then to a room devoted to Mackintosh's art nouveau furniture, then to a room dedicated to natural history and filled with stuffed animals.
Apart from this small defect (which will appear pleasantly exotic to some and a bit chaotic to others), the Kelvingrove Museum is absolutely rich and fabulous and if you don’t mind admiring a World War II plane amongst stuffed animals and masterpieces by foreign artists, you’ll be positively surprised by the diversity of the works of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, one of the most beautiful museums in the United Kingdom.
First, its imposing architecture and the pipe organ that adorns the main hall, which you may have the opportunity to listen to because they hold free concerts here every afternoon. And its collection, which although heterogeneous, is not less interesting: if you have the opportunity, the ideal is to come several times and visit only part of the museum each time.
In the main lobby, there is a museum within the museum devoted to shoes, where you can admire even a dog sculpture made entirely of...rubber boots!
The most famous painting on display at Kelvingrove is perhaps the masterpiece by Salvador Dali titled 'Christ of St. John of the Cross'. There is also an original Spitfire aircraft hanging on the west courtyard ceiling.
The adjacent refurbished building is an attraction on its own and Kelvingrove welcomes families because all the displays were designed to appeal to children as well.
In addition to all exhibitions, Kelvingrove has a restaurant, a café and a beautiful souvenir shop.