£38.6m Scottish galleries at the National to open this weekend

Image: New Scottish galleries at the National (Dapple photography)

The conclusion of the five-year project will see visitors given first access to 12 galleries and more than double the previous display space 


The National Galleries of Scotland will open its new Scottish galleries this Saturday, concluding a £38.6m project which began in 2018. 

The project has been funded by major contributions from the Scottish Government (£15.25m) and The National Lottery Heritage Fund (£6.89 million), and a £16m fundraising campaign raised. 

It said the construction had been “complex”; situated within a World Heritage Site, the creation of new gallery spaces “entailed extensive excavation underneath the existing building and its setting on the Mound.” The National is also sited above the three rail tunnels, some of the busiest in Scotland.

Its first visitors will see the more than doubled physical display space consisting of 12 galleries displaying more than 460 artwork from 1800 to 1945. There will also be five new international hangs at the Mound level, and three new areas specifically designed to display drawings and other fragile artworks, which will change regularly throughout the year.  

Sir John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “The gallery is more accessible than ever before and there is a stunning new display of 150 years of Scottish art in all its richness and depth.”  

Scotland’s Culture Secretary Angus Robertson added: “The National Galleries of Scotland has the world’s finest collection of Scottish Art and I’m delighted that the new galleries will now have space to showcase this to a national and international audience.”