National Museum of Scotland Edinburgh

National Museum of Scotland Edinburgh

Top Tourist Attractions

The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland, was formed in 2006 with the merger of the new Museum of Scotland, with collections relating to Scottish antiquities, culture and history, and the adjacent Royal Scottish Museum' (opened in 1866 as the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art, renamed in 1904, and for the period between 1985 and the merger named the Royal Museum of Scotland or simply the Royal Museum), with international collections covering science and technology, natural history, and world cultures.

The National Museum of Scotland has exhibits and collections on topics ranging from Scottish antiquities, anthropology, history, science, and technology, as also world culture. Created after the merger of two museums, the National Museum of Scotland is massive, divided between two connected buildings.

With thousands of amazing objects across multiple galleries, the Museum offers you a world of discovery all under one roof.

Museum trails

Explore the museum in a whole new light with the self-guided trails.

  • A Giant Adventure

The giant Benandonner has found his way into the museum! Can you help get him out again?

  • Dinosaur Trail

Discover some fascinating dino facts as you follow Rory the Stegosaurus through our Natural Sciences galleries.

  • Winter Trail

Join baby King Penguin to get ready for a winter celebration!

  • Wellbeing Trail

This trail is to help you ‘reset’ and find some moments of mindfulness and well-being in the Museum.

  • Selfie Safari Trail

Follow our trail and get animal spotting in our Natural World galleries!

  • Architecture trail

Discover striking architectural details and hidden histories on your next visit to our Museum.

Explore the Galleries

  • Visit the Grand Gallery

The  Grand Gallery is one of Scotland’s most beautiful spaces and provides a spectacular start to your museum visit. Take a photo with the noble Giant Deer skeleton, say hello to the massive skull of Moby the whale  , and marvel at  the machinery used to smash atoms.

  • Window on the World

Rising through the four stories, the Window on the World is the largest single museum installation in the UK. The display celebrates the variety and scope of the Museum, showcasing a spectacular array of over 800 objects drawn from a wide range of cultures and disciplines, from tiny glass sculptures to a girder from the original Tay Bridge, and whalebone scrimshaw to Art Nouveau design.

Walk through the Grand Gallery and you’ll find the extraordinary Millennium clock, which comes to life on the hour with whirling figures, stirring music, and dancing lights.

  • Discoveries

Here you’ll meet the Scots whose ideas, innovations, and leadership took them across the world. Inventors, diplomats, military leaders, adventurers, or the celebrities of their time: intriguing objects reveal the stories of their lives and achievements.

  • Art of Ceramics

Situated next to the Balcony Café, this gallery offers a fascinating insight into the breadth of our outstanding ceramic collections, celebrating the creativity that is reflected in pieces from around the world.

  • Art, Design, and Fashion galleries

Walk your catwalk and spot gems by Vivienne Westwood, Zandra Rhodes, Jean Muir, and Pringle of Scotland, and try your hand at fashion design in our digital game.

Art lovers will find much to delight in our Making and Creating gallery on Level 3, which explores the techniques and inspirations behind the work of artists, makers, and designers.

  • Natural World galleries

Hundreds of fascinating animals are brought together in our Natural World galleries to illustrate the extraordinary variety of life on earth.

The dramatic Animal World gallery introduces the main themes of behaviour and interaction with the environment. Here you can explore the lives of animals from around the world, from the Arctic to Australia. From cooler climes meet a polar bear and Arctic fox, from Africa get acquainted with a family of lions and stretch your neck to see our giraffe, and go back in time to walk in the shadow of a giant T.rex skeleton cast.

  • Scottish History and Archaeology galleries

Come face to face with iconic historic artifacts, learn how Scottish innovation has helped shape the modern world and see how the lives of everyday Scots have changed through the centuries.

Explore the first three billion years of Scotland’s history and uncovers the origins and evolution of our landscape, flora, and fauna in Beginnings, on Level -1.

There are a few must-see objects like:

  1. The Lewis chess pieces on display in the Kingdom of the Scots
  2. Replica of May Queen of Scot’s tomb in the Kingdom of the Scots gallery.
  3. The Maiden beheading machine in the Kingdom of the Scots.
  4. Dolly the Sheep: As the first cloned mammal ever to be created from an adult cell, Dolly is the most famous sheep in the world.
  5. Moby The Whale
  6. Schmidt Telescope: The Schmidt Telescope is a sight to behold. This particular invention enabled astronomers to photograph vast surfaces of the sky in significant detail.
  7. Muonionalusta Meteorite: A weight of 170 kg, the Muonionalusta Meteorite was found in Sweden in 2004, and is incredibly magnetic. Amazingly, this is one of the few exhibits on open display, meaning that it can be touched.
  • Science and Technology galleries

Explore the history of innovation in Scotland and across the world through interactive games and thought-provoking displays.

Check Out Mini Museum

Explore the museum in miniature created by brick artist Warren Elsmore. This Lego brick model perfectly recreates the museum from the imposing Victorian façade to the spectacular Grand Gallery.

Exhibitions and Events

Catch up on different events and exhibitions that take place from time to time. Few of them are mentioned here

  • Summer of Stories

From trails to storytelling, origami to film screenings, all sorts are going on this summer at the National Museum of Scotland as part of the Year of Scotland’s Stories!

  • Brave' film screening

Enjoy this 2012 Disney Pixar classic on the big screen and then go and explore our Scotland galleries with a specially themed trail.

  • Magic Carpet Free Pilot Sessions

Relax and Refuel

Grab lunch or a snack at our Balcony Café (Level 3) with a great view over the Grand Gallery. Great for all the family with freshly prepared soups, sandwiches and salads, children’s lunch boxes, and some fine home baking.

The museum is truly a fantastic place to visit. It is well set up to trace the history of Scotland from prehistoric times through the present day.


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