Our library services support the research and learning needs of Museum staff, visitors, and the wider external research community.

Research Library at the National Museum of Scotland

The Research Library is the largest museum library in Scotland.

Founded 230 years ago with its roots in the collections of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, it is now a modern research library with collections and services supporting and reflecting the strength and variety of the Museum’s objects, collections and research directions.

The collection includes:

  • 300,000 monographs and other printed items
  • 450 journal titles and access to 4,300 e-journals
  • Outstanding collections in archaeology and world-wide decorative arts
  • Manuscript collections of noted archaeologists and natural historians
  • A Special Collection of pre-1851 printed books
  • Archive material associated with the history of National Museums Scotland and its object collections.

Lithograph of a snow leopard

Above: Lithograph of a Snow Leopard from A monograph of the Felidae or family of the cats, 1883. This beautiful book is in the National Museums Scotland library.

Please browse our catalogue to find out more about the range of collections we have on offer.

National Museums Scotland participates in the SCURL Scottish Collections Policy.

Opening hours

The Library is open to visitors Monday – Friday during Museum opening times, 10:00-17:00. It is closed at weekends and public holidays.

Finding the Library

The Research Library is on Level 3 of the National Museum of Scotland. 

You may wish to contact us before you visit to request material, we can then have it ready for you to consult on your arrival.


National War Museum Library

The Library is based in our Museum within the walls of Edinburgh Castle. Its collections include monographs and journals on all aspects of Scottish military history since the 1600s. 

Please contact us in advance to make an arrangement to visit and we will do our best to help.

The National War Museum Library is currently open to the public on a Tuesday 10am – 1pm.



Blog posts from the Library

The secret life of books revealed.
Contact us

National Museum of Scotland Library Services
Chambers Street
Edinburgh EH1 1JF
Tel: 0131 247 4137
Fax: 0131 247 4311
Email: library@nms.ac.uk