Old Gala House is a museum and gallery in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. It was first constructed in the late 15th century as a tower house, becoming a museum in 1988.
Old Gala House’s beautiful garden
It’s free to get in plus there’s free parking at the front of museum with disabled parking access at the rear. There’s also a cafe and shop in the museum.
Sign outside Old Gala House
What I liked about Old Gala House was the eclectic mix. The permanent exhibitions focus on local history.
Collage of local history between 1930 – 2005
Two foxes and a plum tree; Galashiels’ Coat of Arms on the ceiling of Old Gala House
The Painted Ceiling Room is beautiful. Only around thirty of these Scottish style Renaissance celings remain intact, as they were often destroyed when the fashion changed to decorative plasterwork.
Angel on painted ceiling at Old Gala House
The painted ceiling at Old Gala House dates from 1635
There’s also a Painted Wall Room which has some activities for kids.
Painted Wall Room at Old Gala House
Activity corner in the Painted Wall Room at Old Gala House
There’s a room devoted to Thomas Clapperton, a sculptor born in Galashiels. Clapperton’s best known pieces include the Liberty Frieze on the department store in London, a Robert the Bruce statue at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle and several war memorials in the Scottish Borders.
Sculpture of Thomas Clapperton in Old Gala House
Sculpture by window in the Thomas Clapperton Room
I liked the Record Sleeves exhibition in the Museum Room. I remembered the “Island Life” sleeve from the 1986 album by Grace Jones. I was fooled by the trick photography as I thought that Grace Jones was agile enough to strike the pose.
“Island Life” by Grace Jones, 1986
“Bringing It All Back Home” by Bob Dylan, 1965
“More Songs About Buildings and Food” by Talking Heads, 1978
Â “Kraftwerk “by Kraftwerk, 1973
There was an exhibition of photos by Robert Mapplethrope in which photography was forbidden. It’s a testament to Grace Jones’ Influence on 1980s culture that a photo of her, with her body painted by graffiti artist Keith Hardling, featured in the Mapplethorpe exhibition.
I hope that you enjoy your visit to Old Gala House as much as I did.