Rintoul was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1955 and was educated at Allan Glen's School, a science-orientated school in the city. He studied physics at the University of Edinburgh and received a PhD from the University of Manchester in the history of science and technology. In 1984, he was appointed as curator of the Colour Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Between 1987 and 1998, he was Director of Catalyst, a museum in Widnes, Cheshire on the chemical industry. In 1989, he was awarded the Diploma of the Museums Association.
In 2001, he led the opening of the Millennium Galleries, an art gallery in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, with funding from the Millennium Commission and in partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum. He became Director of National Museums Scotland in 2002, where he has led the project to restore the Royal Museum.
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- "Birthday's today". The Telegraph. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
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- "Dr Gordon Rintoul". Nation Museums Directors' Conference, UK. Retrieved 28 July 2011. External link in
- "National Museum of Scotland to reopen after £47m refit". BBC News. BBC. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 8.
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