Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

A Visit to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum


Glasgow, Scotland

Oh, how I love thee.

Original Travel Plans.

When I traveled to Scotland with my mother and aunt at the end of May, we broke up the trip into 3 stays… 2 nights in Edinburgh (since that’s where the plane was landing), 2 nights in Glasgow, and then 3 nights in Edinburgh (since we were flying out from here). While we were trying to plan the trip, we had no idea what we would truly accomplish given that we were relying on public transportation. Since Edinburgh had easy access for our day up to Stirling Castle and a lot of well-known spots to visit, we made that our longer home base.

Our trip to Glasgow was mainly genealogy based. We knew that we’d take the train to Airdrie to visit the library there and walk the streets that my great-great grandparents (Agnes McLachlan & James Scott) had walked. We knew that Agnes’s father, Hugh McLachlan, was born in Glasgow, but most of the ancestry information we had at the time was from small towns surrounding Glasgow.

Changes to our Travel Plans.

We arrived in Glasgow on a Friday morning and took our bags to the hotel. We had purchased our train tickets to Airdrie along with our train to Glasgow that morning prior to leaving Edinburgh. There are two train stations in Glasgow, Central Station, and Queen Street Station. We had arrived at Queen Street so that is where we returned to head to Airdrie. We didn’t see it listed so asked an attendant who told us that we needed to leave from Central Station.  They aren’t too far apart so we walked there and again no train to Airdrie. It did indeed run from Queen Street, but there was a service disruption. I went through the process of getting our tickets refunded, all the while conscious that my mother was on the verge of tears. This was our only day to get to Airdrie from Glasgow since the research library is only open Tuesday through Friday. Over lunch, we decided to make the trip from Edinburgh to Airdrie on Tuesday and to make the most of the time that we had in Glasgow.


Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

We could already tell that the architecture was stunning. There is a palpable difference between Glasgow and Edinburgh, even in the architecture. I can’t put my finger on it because I am not a historical or architectural expert. The only way I can describe the difference with the architecture would be that Glasgow’s is “more imposing” or “masculine” and even that would not properly explain it.

My mother and I decided to visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. After the exhausting morning, we planned to take a taxi. However, we walked a block too far past the taxi stand and didn’t know where the next one was located. So a mile and a half walk it was!



As we got close, our approach brought us through Kelvingrove Park, which was originally created as the West End Park in 1852.

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is located on the west end of the city.

We entered from the Park side. There are also elevators located here.


Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum first opened in 1901. In 2003, it underwent a refurbishment and reopened in 2006.


Floating Heads.

The first piece that we came upon was Floating Heads by Sophie Cave.

I had previously seen that this sculpture was located at the Kelvingrove.

Over 50 heads with different facial expressions suspended from the ceiling of the foyer.


And while the masks are white, the lighting accenting them changes colors and makes you notice something different about them each time.


Also, once you start climbing the grand staircase to the second floor, you begin to notice the different expressions of those faces at the higher levels.

More Exhibits.

Kelvingrove contains 22 galleries and displays 8,000 objects.

We did not even begin to have time to take in all of the astonishing collections.

There were works by the Scottish artists, collectively known as the Glasgow Boys. There was a beautiful sculpture by George Lawson. I spied a Rembrandt as well as one of their most well-known pieces… Christ of St. John of the Cross by Salvador Dali. I have not typically been a fan of Dali because Surrealism is just not my preference, but I did love this piece.



That’s one of the things that I love about art. There are endless ways to create. We will be drawn to some and not to others. We may stand in the same room as another human who loves what we perceive as unattractive.

I’m not a fan of pretending to know what the artist or writer intended from their work unless they have specifically shared their intent. At that point, your opinion is subjective and no more correct than anyone else’s. I am, however, a fan of finding art that I find to be beautiful… whether that be in words, on a canvas, in a photo, in music, in architecture, or in the way that nature creates a scene so spectacular that we could only begin to fathom creating something as divine.


The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is amongst the top three free-to-enter visitor attractions in Scotland, and one of the most visited museums in the United Kingdom outside of London.

We left the Museum because it was closing. Otherwise, we would have spent many more hours strolling around. We exited on the Argyll Street side.

The building is stunning in its coloring and architectural details.

The beautiful red sandstone came from the Locharbriggs Quarry in Dumfries, Scotland. The architecture combines a variety of styles but is most commonly referred to as Spanish Baroque. It is a category ‘A’ listed building.


Besides a slight crop, neither of these two exterior shots from Argyll Street have had any post-processing. I attribute this both to the amazing light and to my Sony Alpha 7II, which produces crisp shots even when shooting hand-held.


Sometimes we would imagine our family walking these streets of Glasgow. We thought perhaps that sometimes there would be a reason to come to the big city. Since then we’ve found that my 3rd great-grandfather, Hugh McLachlan’s parents (Hugh McLachlan and Mary McLachlan) were married in Glasgow on October 7, 1827. At the time, Hugh is listed as a Seaman. Given that the Hugh that is my 3rd great-grandfather was born in Glasgow in 1835, it would appear that my 4th great-grandparents did indeed walk the streets of Glasgow for some time. I’ve not found the death records for Hugh or Mary, but at the time of Hugh’s (3gg) death in Airdrie in 1881, his deceased father’s occupation was listed as a Private Coachman.

Perhaps he never left Glasgow?

No wonder Glasgow felt so much like home.

Next time I return, I will definitely spend more than two days in Glasgow.

From the Kelvingrove, we would walk to the grounds of the University of Glasgow.

A Visit to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum


Let your light shine!


26 thoughts on “Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

  1. Love the building – and agree about the Dali painting – I’m not a huge fan of his either (and since “Midnight in Paris”, I always think of Adrian Brody when I think of Dali) 🙂

    1. I don’t think I’ve seen that movie. I’m not sure how I missed it because it has actors that I typically watch. When I looked for a Dali quote, I realized that I had no idea what Dali looked like! 🙂

  2. Oh I would love to go to Glasgow one day. I can also trace some ancestors to the city. Fun Fact, I actually work in a suburb in Brisbane, Australia called Kelvin Grove (2 words) 🙂

  3. One thing to dislike about travel is that there are places it really takes dedicated days to fully take in the sights — museums are at the top of that list. But oh, what a great place to tour from my sofa, Amy. Thanks 🙂

  4. This building is HUGE! It could take weeks, if not months, to soak it in.

    The floating heads are an interesting art installation. I could probably get fixated on the different expressions for a while … not to mention that grand entrance!

    1. It is a huge building! Unfortunately, we went in the afternoon so our time was even more limited.
      The floating heads were definitely a very unique installation. And the entrance was gorgeous! 🙂

  5. What a great post! I am glad you made it to Airdrie in the end. I have only been to the Kelvingrove once but it made such a lasting impression on me that I always recommend it to friends visiting the city.

  6. Ah, how I miss that organ! Great job with these pictures – such a unique museum; it’s difficult to capture its essence. Well done!

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