A case of exhibits at the John Gray Centre museum


We have two galleries, one with exhibitions from the Museum Service collections, one with a programme of changing exhibitions drawn from and suggested by the local community. If you would like to propose an exhibition, find out more and apply here. Our exhibitions are all free entry.

John Gray Centre Museum – Permanent exhibition, ‘The Land, the Sea, the People’. Audio guide also available.  Upcoming, past and current exhibitions are listed below.

Current Exhibitions

East Lothian’s Coast and Countryside
Saturday 30 November 2019 to Tuesday 14 January 2020
This vibrant selling exhibition brings together two distinct approaches to the creation and presentation of the visual arts under a unifying theme.
Using the broad theme of East Lothian’s beautiful coastline and countryside, the exhibition is devoted to supporting the practice of artists, Paul Macgee, Karen Monaghan and William Wood who live and work in East Lothian whilst also highlighting locally produced artworks and photography by Liz Cunningham and Kerry Pe-win who have enjoyed exploring the theme through the medium of the visual arts.

The last of the Hepburns of Smeaton Hepburn

A personal view case in the Museum.  It opened on Saturday 16th June and is on display for approximately eighteen months. Generations of the East Lothian Buchan Hepburn family influenced public life locally, nationally, internationally. Their legacy is explored through the achievements of key family members and highlighted by the fascinating and rare objects on display. Highlights include a curling stone dated to 1698, rare paintings and two replica portrait miniatures on loan from National Galleries of Scotland.

Past Exhibitions

Treasures from the Hoard 11th May 2019 – 27th October 2019

A stunning exhibition featuring many iconic pieces from the spectacular hoard of Traprain Treasure found on Traprain Law 100 years ago. This was the first time the internationally significant silver had been displayed in East Lothian since its discovery during a routine archaeological excavation.

The Traprain Treasure is the largest hoard of late Roman silver ever found out with the Roman Empire, comprising over 250 fragments of silverware that had been cut up either to exchange as bullion or for melting down and recycling.

The Treasures from the Hoard exhibition took over the first gallery of the museum, involving a total revamp of the gallery and featured real and replica objects. A programme of talks and events marked the centenary. The exhibition was supported by loans from National Museums Scotland and private lenders, with financial support from Museums Galleries Scotland.

The Men of Bannockburn 21st September to 19th November 2019.
Amazing life size portraits of the main players at the battle of Bannockburn. Beautifully drawn by Italian artist Marco Trecalli.

Poldrate Arts And Crafts Centre Exhibition
Come and see the work of the tutors who offer classes in painting, drawing, printmaking, spinning, weaving, upholstery, glass, pottery, clay portraiture, basket making and woodcarving.29th June to 11th September 2019

Haddington Camera Club Annual Exhibition

New work from Club members.  Saturday 4th May to Wednesday 19th June.

Raise Your Glass! Celebrating Haddington’s Brewing Heritage

Explore Haddington’s proud brewing tradition dating back to at least 1568 as well as the malting and distilling that took place in the town. Highlights include bottles, barrels, coopering tools and photographs exploring the production of beers and ales in Haddington and further afield. 19th January to 23rd April 2019.  Organised by Brewing Heritage Scotland in partnership with East Lothian Council.

East Lothian Visual Artists and Craft Makers Awards – A Retrospective Exhibition (2015 – 2018)
This vibrant selling exhibition showcased the work of past recipients of Arts Awards including James Craig Page, Sophie Ferguson, Barbara Rowell, Eleanor Symms, Georgina Bown and Mike Windle.
Saturday 1 December 2018 – Tuesday 8 January 2019

A Sense of Place: Paintings by Dorothea Nimmo Smith of Haddington in the 1940s and ‘50s.
6th October  to 20th November 2018
Dorothea Nimmo Smith, (1889 to 1962) was a talented water colourist capturing more than a hundred water colours of Haddington street scenes. A selection of the best were exhibited here alongside loans from private collections illustrating her work in different media. For families, there was is an I-spy picture quiz, drawing and colouring. Curated by Haddington’s History Society.

Haddington Life and Work

Saturday 12th May 2018 to Sunday 24th June 2018

Haddington Camera Club members have been photographing images for the “Life and Work” exhibition as part of the Haddington 700 Celebrations. The club displayed a real variety of images showing the people of Haddington at work and play in our Royal Burgh in this year of 2018. The “ Life and Work” exhibition to showcased Haddington Camera Clubs images of some of the characters that make Haddington the diverse and modern market town they live in today.

East Lothian Artists Exhibition
Saturday 10th February to Wednesday 2nd May 2018

A vibrant display of paintings, jewellery, glasswork and textiles created by Musselburgh Art Club members alongside paintings of rural East Lothian by William Darling McKay (1844-1924). Includes plenty of activities for families plus a chance to get creative with Musselburgh Art Club during our special craft sessions.

East Lothian – Birthplace of Scotland’s Flag: The Story of St Andrew and the Saltire.

Saturday 28 Oct 2017 until 30 Jan 2018 

This fascinating exhibition explores the battle at Athelstaneford and the adoption of Andrew as patron saint. Learn about Pilgrim routes to North Berwick, admire pilgrim badges and moulds. See a coin of Constantine and explore links to Roman Emperor Constantine I.

The Rough Wooing: East Lothian in the Grip of War, 1542 – 1550  15th July 2017 – 17th October 2017

This stunning exhibition explored how the Siege of Haddington, the Battle of Pinkie and the story of the ‘Abbey’ of St Mary were linked to the destiny of the young Mary Stewart and the period of history known as the Rough Wooing. It was put together by a team of volunteers and the Friends of the John Gray Centre and featured interactive and multimedia displays, replica costumes, activities for families and rare objects loaned from private and national collections.

Robert Noble Centenary Exhibition: Painting the Landscape of East Lothian 13th May to 5th July 2017

This exhibition celebrated the life and work of Robert Noble, one of East Linton’s most significant artists, 100 years on from his death on 12th May 1917. It was curated by Dunpender Community Council and a team of volunteers.

Deeds Not Words – 100 years of the Rural 21st Jan  to Wed 3rd May 2017

The Scottish Women’s Institute (better known to many as ‘The Rural’) had its first meeting in Longniddry in 1917. This exhibition celebrated the centenary of the movement showing that it is much more than jam and knitting!

‘Here’s one we MADE earlier’ 3rd Dec 2016 to 10th Jan 2017

This vibrant exhibition of contemporary art and craft was curated by MADE, a group of artist makers based at the community arts hub in Haddington.  There were many pieces for sale offering a great opportunity for Christmas shopping!

It showcased work from the following artists and makers: Fiona Lambert, Fiona Maher, Carol E Duff, Marlin Makkins, Jen Skedd, Andy Baker, June Weaver, Dave Illingworth, Gill Curwen, Philippa Wylie and Lorna Chamberlin.

10: Timelines

The Land and the Sea within the long term museum display was completely refreshed in 2016 opening in February and including a delicate and fascinating fishwife costume plus precious and everyday items associated to East Lothian’s past as a maritime trading hub.  Includes a dramatic painting of  Fisherrow Fishwife, Mrs Kate Scott by David FoggieTimelines

The Garden of Scotland: East Lothian’s community gardening heritage, Sat 13th Aug – Tue 22nd November. Explore the history of gardening in the region and enjoy photographs showcasing East Lothian’s allotments, community gardens, gardeners and produce.

Pixel Perfect, New work by Haddington Camera Club, including work inspired by the work of the Tyne and Esk Writers 30 April – 29 May 2016

Whirrs, Cogs and Thingamabobs: A weird and wonderful collection of antique gadgets and inventions. On loan from Maurice Collins. 4 June 2016 – 3 August 2016. Highlights of this quirky exhibition included a clockwork burglar alarm and a Victorian skirt lifter.

The Best Days of Your Life? Education in East Lothian 3 Oct 2015–13 Jan 2016

Remarkable Trees, 5 June–22 Sept 2015  Find out about Haddington’s trees here.

The Magic of Masks & Puppets, 21 Mar–20 May 2015

Danish Diaspora, 2 Feb–16 Mar 2015

Treasure: A Christmas Exhibition of Arts and Crafts, 13 Dec 2014–17 Jan 2015

East Lothian: Our War 1914–18, 17 May 2014–30 Nov 2014

The King, The Queen and The Vicious Strumpet, January–April 2014

Footprints in the Landscape, 22 June 2013–19 January 2014

Haddington Camera Club – The First Sixty Years: May–June 2013

East Lothian Visual Artists and Craft Makers Awards – A Retrospective Exhibition: March–May 2013

Living by the Sea: December 2012–February 2013 (with ‘The Fabric of Life’)

The Fabric of Life: December 2012–February 2013 (with Living by the Sea‘)

Toy Stories: October–November 2012

Pincushion: an exhibition by Polarcap: July–September 2012

Sporting East Lothian: 26 July–October 2012

Our Place in Time: March–June 2012

Leave a comment below or contact us if you’d like to find out more about proposing an exhibition.

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