Please note: due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak the Centre is currently closed, but our website is still open for business.
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.

Current Exhibitions

The Land, the Sea, the People.
Our long term display explores objects, art, costume and oral histories from East Lothian with a short film introducing the Museum. There are hands on activities for families including postcards and dressing up clothes. The Talking Museum audio guide provides vivid descriptions with historical information and optional navigational guidance for the visually impaired. Explore the exhibition here.

Art for Health’s Sake. Monday 17th February to Sunday 10th May 2020.
An exhibition that showcases work from people who have direct experience of art making a difference in their lives and those who facilitate the process. Explore highlights of the exhibition here.

The last of the Hepburns of Smeaton Hepburn
A personal view case in the Museum.  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.

Upcoming Exhibitions
Discovering Ancient Egypt
Saturday 16th May 2020 to Sunday 27th September 2020
A National Museums Scotland Touring Exhibition. Bringing together fascinating objects and hidden stories from the collections of National Museums Scotland, this exhibition uncovers how ancient Egypt captivated Scotland over 200 years ago, as it still does today. The exhibition will be accompanied by an events programme.

Past Exhibitions
Over the years there have been many memorable exhibitions and we have included a selection here.

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.

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.

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.

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!

10: Timelines

The Land and the Sea within the long term museum display was 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.

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

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

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’)

Sporting East Lothian: 26 July–October 2012

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

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