John Gray Centre

The John Gray Centre is a cultural hub for everyone to enjoy, and holds resources to satisfy a diverse range of interests, from family history research to discovering more about East Lothian's people and places. A vibrant year-round programme of events, exhibitions and activities are hosted at the centre which combines a library, a five star museum and the county's Archive and Local History services.

Discover the history of East Lothian in the innovative interactive museum at the heart of the county. Explore the land, the sea and discover the stories of the people who have lived here from the Stone Age to the present day, from Neolithic hunter gatherers, Iron Age tribes and Roman invaders to miners, fishermen, farmers and industrialists. Uncover how ordinary and extraordinary people earned their living and spent their time.

The museum has something to interest everyone and is great to visit with kids. There is a postcard trail with stamps to collect and activity sheets. Almost every display has something to touch and do with objects to handle and costumes to wear. Send a selfie dressed as a Victorian farm girl in her 'Ugli' bonnet or a fisherman in a genuine sou'wester. Attempt to unlock the secrets of the three strongboxes. Discover local characters such as the tale of Captain Cadell and his famous collapsible canoe.

Explore fascinating social history and find out curious facts like the secret of the 3,000 pineapple. You will also find some wonderful paintings depicting scenes of everyday life in the county. There are landscapes by William Marshall Brown, William Darling McKay and John Bellany. The permanent displays are complemented by a vibrant, constantly changing programme of exhibitions that reflect both the past and what is important to communities today. The museum is available as a Talking Museum Audio Guide for the visually impaired. The John Gray Centre is fully accessible.

Alongside the museum you'll find the local history centre and archives, with a comfortable reading room where you can browse the collections held in the state-of-the-art on-site archive store, and get help from the knowledgeable history team. The archive not only provides access to the wide range of materials retained by the Council since the Haddington Burgh Charter of 1318 (signed and sealed by none other than Robert the Bruce), but has enabled the return of a vast quantity of older material originally entrusted to the National Archives of Scotland.

In the Centre and on the website, you can explore East Lothian's heritage, find resources to help you at school or with research. You can browse the catalogue or help us by sharing your own stories, whether they're family lore or local tales. You can also sign up to the newsletter and find out about upcoming events, activities and exhibitions.

Join us for Fun & Craft Weekend Drop-in Activities from Friday lunchtime to Sunday afternoon from 1pm-4pm.

John Gray Centre

Opening Hours

Mon-Fri - 10:00-17:00

Sat - 10:00-16:00

Sun - 13:00-16:00

Oct-Mar - Mon, Tues, Fri 10:00-17:00, Sat 10:00-16:00 & Sun 13:00-17:00 (closed Wed & Thurs)

Awards