Tourists travelling to the City of Aberdeen are faced with the daunting task of having so many diverse attractions to choose from that they won’t know where to begin. It’s a titillating problem to have, certainly, but it still requires some thought. Those inclined towards culture, art and history cannot go wrong when selecting any of the following excellent museums.
1. Aberdeen Art Gallery
Set in an exquisite Victorian Building in Schoolhill, the Aberdeen Art Gallery is open every day, from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sundays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the rest of the week. Admission is free.
Inaugurated in 1885, the Aberdeen Art Gallery is to this day one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. The Art Gallery boasts of a magnificent marble and granite main hall as well as several large rooms adorned with hundreds of paintings and sculptures ranging from Impressionist artworks to modern pieces and works by Scottish Colourists. On a regular basis, many of today’s acclaimed artists stage special exhibits at the Aberdeen Art Gallery.
The gallery also boasts of a fine collection of antique silverware and decorative works. Visitors can also see contemporary craft and a wide range of decorative art.
2. The Gordon Highlanders Museum
Located at St. Lukes on Viewfield Road, the Gordon Highlanders Museum is open for a limited time only each year, mainly from the first Tuesday of April to the last Sunday of October, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sundays and 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for the rest of the week. The establishment is closed from November to March except for special appointments.
Though your time frame is limited, the Gordon Highlanders Museum is well worth the visit as it recounts the dramatic story of one of the British Army’s most heralded regiments in stunning detail. The Museum features mementoes from the lives of the regiment’s outstanding personalities, those kilted soldiers from the North East of Scotland, and pays tribute to their accomplishments.
This small museum is an absolute must for fans of military history and features regular screenings of films on the history of the regiment. Among the items on display is an authentic Nazi flag from Hitler’s staff car.
Children are welcome to try on a number of replicas of the regiment’s uniforms
3. The Maritime Museum
The Scottish Tourist Board rates this historical gem on cobbled Shiprow Street as a five-star attraction. It is open daily from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the week. Admission is free.
Built in 1593, the Aberdeen Maritime Museum narrates in vivid detail the story of the city's long relationship with the Sea. This award-winning museum traces Aberdeen’s rich maritime history for over 500 years and covers the lives of prominent personalities who helped shape one of Aberdeen’s signature industries. In addition, it provides a view into the technical side of the maritime industry by focusing on the evolution and technology of ships and oil rigs.
The Maritime Museum is a series of old buildings comprised of castle-style corridors and elegant staircases that lead to vast enclaves with various room sets, scale models and historical artefacts. There is no other place in the United Kingdom that provides displays on the North Sea oil industry. The museum also offers a spectacular view of the bustling harbour.
4. The Marischal Museum
The pride of Broad Street covers over eight centuries of local and world history and is open daily from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sundays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the week. Admission is free.
Founded in 1786, the Marischal Museum is the second-largest granite structure in the world. Much of its early collections came from donations by generations of friends and graduates of Marischal University. As a result, the unique collections are of high quality, particularly the Egyptian and Classical antiquities, non-Western ethnography and Scottish prehistory and numismatics that rank alongside the largest in Scotland.
The lavish displays are encased in several floors of the Marischal College building. They also include artefacts from the Balkans and Tibet as well as insightful relics from the North East of Scotland.
5. Provost Skene’s House
At the heart of the City of Granite lies Provost Skene’s House, the city’s oldest surviving townhouse and an absolute architectural wonder.
Dating back to 1545, Provost Skene's House is a prime example of early burgh architecture. Inside, visitors can learn more about the city's historical past through its period room settings, such as the 17th century Great Hall, Parlour and Bedroom, the 18th century Bedroom and Georgian Dining Room and the late 19th century Nursery.
The house also features a Painted Gallery with an intriguing series of religious paintings, a Costume Gallery that displays the changing fashions of the city's past and various displays of coins, archaeology and other items of local interest at the top floor.