The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum

The Smith Institute opened its doors on the 11th of August 1874, making it one of Scotland’s oldest public museums.

Thomas Stuart Smith, a local artist whose work was admired by contemporaries including Sir Edwin Landseer, left a bequest for the creation of The Smith Institute. He also left his own collection of over 1,000 paintings to be displayed in the Institute’s gallery. Smith was going to supervise the construction of his Institute personally, but he died just two months after creating his will in 1869.

The building, now known as The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum, was designed by Edinburgh architect John Lessels and originally contained accommodation for the curator. During the First World War the main picture gallery was requisitioned and was used as a factory for producing military uniforms, and until the Albert Halls opened in 1883 the gallery was also used as the town’s main concert hall.

The Smith now contains a café, lecture theatre, temporary exhibition space and main gallery and hosts events throughout the year. 


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