Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum floating heads

{Scotland} Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum with Kids

Happy Museum Monday! Last week, we shared our visit to the Riverside Museum in Glasgow with you. This week, we have another Glasgow museum to share – the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, which is within walking distance of Riverside so since we had come all the way, we visited both in the same day.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove is housed in an impressive, sprawling building across two floors, and is roughly divided in to an Art Gallery side and a Museum side (as indicated by the colour coded floor plan). Or, as my boys like to call it, it’s a “museum of everything”. The main hall connecting the two sides, with its grand organ, is absolutely stunning and the first thing you see when you enter. Note that organ recitals are performed daily at 1pm, except on Sundays, when they are at 3pm. 

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum organ

On the Art Gallery side, there is a heavy emphasis on Scottish art, with the Scottish Colourists, Mackintosh, the Glasgow Boys, and Scottish Identity in Art. But you’ll also find some world art. And you can’t miss the famous ‘floating heads’ in the atrium of the Art Gallery side.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum floating heads

In the Dutch Art gallery, there was a large painting called “The Five Senses”, which had a guide alongside it on how to spot symbols for each of the senses in the painting. This really caught my 8 yr old’s interest.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum the five senses painting

And in the French Art gallery, we had fun with a mix-and-match art puzzle, as well as doing a round of “Who is the first to spot a Monet?” (we’d been to a Money exhibition just two weeks before, so it was fresh in their minds).

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum art puzzle

Of particular interest to families, is the ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ gallery, which has various interactive activities to explore the stories that paintings can tell, such as what people in a painting might be thinking…

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum every picture tells a story

Creating your own mythological story out of given story fragments…

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum create a story

Exploring the stories behind some carvings…

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum carvings

Putting yourself in the shoes (or rather bed) of Briar Rose…

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Briar Rose

Doing a quiz to help a young lady in a painting choose between two lovers…

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum art quiz

After a cake break in the basement cafe, we then explored the Museum side of the building. It covers everything from natural history, Ancient Egypt and Glasgow stories on the ground floor…

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum natural history
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

To world cultures, history, life in the rain forest, and Scotland’s first people on the first floor…

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Don’t miss the haggis on display in the Scottish wildlife gallery (if it’s in a museum, it must be true!).

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum haggis

There are two hands on Discovery Centres too on the Museum side too, one about History and one about the Environment. My boys particularly enjoyed the latter one, where they played a lift-the-flap guessing game, helped build an environment for Rab the Squirrel in a touchscreen game, watched a live beehive , and pretending to be baby dinosaurs hatching from an egg!

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum what am I

The Ancient Egypt gallery also had quite a few fun activities, including a puzzle to put together a sarcophagus, a touchscreen game where you had to build paths to let spirits pass, and an activity where you could practice wrapping a mummy.

Last but not least, the ‘Mini Museum’ in the foyer of the Museum side had some hands-on activities all about body parts, particularly eyes, mouths and noses from animals, paintings and sculptures. You turn your own face in to an artwork with some body part props, or create funny faces with a mix-and-match puzzle.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Mini Museum

There’s lots more to explore at Kelvingrove. We didn’t look at everything in details, as it was our second museum of the day and the kids were getting tired, but we’ll definitely be back to look around some more!

How to get there

Location: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8AG

The closest train stations are Partick, Charing Cross, and Exhibition Centre, which are all roughly 1 mile away from Kelvingrove. The closest subway station is Kelvinhall, which is roughly ½ mile away. There are also various buses that stop at the front of Kelvingrove, on Argyle Street. There are more travel tips on the Kelvingrove website.

Visitor Info

Opening hours: Daily, from 10am to 5pm on Mondays – Thursdays & Saturdays, and from 11am on Fridays and Sundays. Closed at Christmas and New Year.

Cost: Free admission.


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