All the objects in our collection have a story to tell. Discover the secrets of our treasures here.

The wealth of objects in our collection represent everything from Scottish history and archaeology to applied arts and design, from world cultures ancient and modern to science, technology and the natural world.

Some of the stories our collections tell reflect events of national or international significance. Our democracy tent played its part in the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament, while the cloning of Dolly the sheep changed the way scientists view biological processes. Many of our treasures shed light on the distant past, like our fearsome T.rex, while others, like the tiny coffins found on Arthur’s Seat, are more mysterious.

Some of the objects highlighted here are rare and precious, others are made significant by the people who once owned them or the journeys they have made. Some are ancient discoveries, while others were made recently, especially for our collection. 

New stories are added regularly as we continue to explore.

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Making the Museum

More than 10 million objects make their home at the National Museum of Scotland. Discover the secrets of our treasures with this new series.
Arthurs Seat Coffins 3

The mystery of the miniature coffins

Satanic spell, superstitious charm or echo of Edinburgh’s grisly underworld history? We examine the theories put forward to explain the strange tale of these tiny coffins, discovered on Arthur’s Seat almost 200 years ago.
Mary, Queen of Scots © Blairs Museum Trust

Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots is one of the most famous yet enigmatic figures in Scottish history. Explore her dramatic story and separate out the facts from the myths that have built up around her.
Bernat Klein

Bernat Klein at National Museums Scotland

Textile designer and artist Bernat Klein put Scottish fashion on the map during the 1960s. Discover his colourful mohairs and tweeds, inspired by the landscape around his Scottish Borders studio.
Valance A1988263 C

The Jacobite challenge

Discover the story of the Jacobites and Prince Charles Edward Stewart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, through key objects from the national collection.
Madras Schoolboys

Bicycles at National Museums Scotland

Journey through a brief history of the early bicycle and discover some of our modern cycling treasures.
Scotland's Concorde

Concorde G-BOAA

For almost 30 years, anyone who could afford the ticket could shoot across the globe at twice the speed of sound. How? By flying on Concorde, the world’s only supersonic passenger aeroplane.
Mummy mask

Coffins and mummy masks

National Museums Scotland’s ancient Egyptian coffin collection remains largely unknown and has many exceptional items. Find out about the different coffins here.
Hilton of Cadboll stone

Early Medieval Scotland

The Early Medieval period (around AD 300 – 900) is a very important part of Scotland’s past. Coming just after the Romans left Britain and before the arrival of the Vikings, it was a time of great creativity in Scotland.