The International Exhibition of 1888 was held in Kelvingrove Park and the profits helped fund the new Art Gallery, Museum and School of Art.
The main building of the Exhibition stood more or less on the site now occupied by the Art Gallery and Museum. The Association for the Encouragement of Art and Music in the City of Glasgow then raised additional funds through public subscription and in 1891 launched an open architectural competition for the new building which opened in 1901.
The earliest object acquired by Glasgow Museums was a Japanese sword presented by a Mr Young in 1870. In 1878 the Japanese government gave to the City of Glasgow a remarkable collection of over 1,000 contemporary art works including architectural pieces, furniture, wood and lacquerware, musical instruments, ceramics, metalwork, textiles and costume and paper samples. This gift was part of an exchange that promoted cultural understanding and awareness between Glasgow and Japan.
The collection today holds over 2,000 Japanese objects and the founding collections have been expanded upon to include Ukiyoe woodblock prints.