Introduction to the Collection

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The origins of the Museums and Gallery’s collection can be traced to 1873 when an enthusiastic group of artists, collectors and critics decided to hold a public exhibition to display their collections.

From this developed a plan to establish a public art gallery for the benefit of citizens, largely driven by three individuals: art collector and flour merchant John Forbes White, artist George Reid and art collector and granite merchant Alexander Macdonald.  Aberdeen Art Gallery and Regional Museum was opened in 1885. The displays combined industrial exhibits with art, enhanced by generous gifts, including Macdonald’s private collection in 1900.

Today, we continue to create an inspirational collection that reflects our city of Aberdeen and its place in the world as a creative, industrial, social and artistic centre, raising the profile of Aberdeen and north east Scotland.

For us, connection is key to understanding and developing our collections:

  • Connecting audiences with objects, sites and stories
  • Connecting objects with people, places and processes
  • Connecting the past with the future of Aberdeen and its place in the world
  • Connecting the themes and specialisms within our collection