Aigantighe (Scottish Gaelic for ‘at home’ and pronounced egg-an-tie) is the name of the historic house that became the foundation of this Gallery in 1956. It was built in 1908 as the retirement home of Alexander Grant (1832-1921) and Helen Grant (1854 -1955), who had emigrated from Scotland and farmed Gray’s Hill Station in the Mackenzie Country. It was the wishes of Mrs Grant that Aigantighe become an art gallery. She lived in the house until her death in 1955, aged 101.Her wishes were followed and Aigantighe was donated to the people of Timaru that same year. The Aigantighe Art Gallery opened in 1956 with a collection donated by the Grant family and the South Canterbury Arts Society.
Since that time, the collection has grown exponentially, but the Edwardian house gallery continues to display the artworks in a unique and beautiful setting. The original staircase, fireplaces, and stained glass windows are features of timeless elegance. A large modern wing was added to the house in 1978, providing a foyer and reception area, offices, collection storage, and an extensive gallery space.