Partly financed by the International Exhibition of 1888, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was built in 1901 by the English architects Sir J.W. Simpson and E.J. Milner Allen. Following the Glasgow tradition of red sandstone buildings, it was built of Locharbriggs sandstone in a Spanish Baroque style and its main entrance faces onto the River Kelvin Valley while the most used doorway is on Sauchiehall Street, which has given rise to the mistaken belief that the building was built the wrong way round. Originally intended to house a concert hall and an art school, it was opened in 1902 without either function.
The collection is divided into four departments: natural history and zoology which houses a range of displays on local flora and fauna together with exhibits of fossils, minerals, insects, and so on; archaeology and history which ranges from Egyptian artefacts to the Scott Collection of European Arms and Armour; decorative art housing collections of ceramics, glass, furniture, silverware, costumes, textiles and metal work; and fine art which comprises works by Monet, Degas, Rubens, Van Gogh, Matisse, Courbet, Pisarro and Whistler, as well as works by Scottish Artists such as Allan Ramsay (1713 - 1784), Horatio McCulloch (1805-67) and Francis Cadell (1883 - 1937).
Kelvingrove was formally reopened in July 2006 by HM Queen Elizabeth II following a three-year closure for a major refurbishment, which cost £27.9 million.
The building has served as a location for several films, including The House of Mirth (2000) and The 39 Steps (2008).