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This has been a landmark year at National Museums Scotland as we welcomed over 2·4 million visitors across our museums, completed three flagship capital projects, celebrated the 150th anniversary of the National Museum of Scotland, and developed a new Strategic Plan to guide us through the next four years.

Innovating and inspiring

On Friday 8 July 2016, ten major new galleries and a splendid new piazza opened at the National Museum of Scotland in celebration of the Museum’s 150th anniversary. This was the latest phase of the Masterplan to transform the Museum. A £14·1 million investment in state-of-the-art galleries has enabled us to put objects on display for the first time for generations, reveal our collections in new ways and significantly increase interactivity and engagement.

Above: Interactive fun in the ‘human hamster wheel’ in the Energise gallery.

Above: Interactive fun in the ‘human hamster wheel’ in the Energise gallery. © Peter Dibdin.

Art of Living gallery

Above: The Art of Living gallery brings together stunning examples of European decorative art: (from nearest) De Lucci marquetry table, Kinghorne table carpet and panelled wall from Hamilton Palace.

Find out more about the new galleries

Restoring and engaging

At Easter, the visitor experience at the National Museum of Flight was transformed with the restoration of two Second World War hangars and the creation of vibrant and engaging displays to enhance dramatically the presentation of our outstanding aviation collections.

Touchscreen in the Civil Aviation Hangar

Above: Interactive touchscreens enable deeper exploration of the stories of the aircraft on display. © Ruth Armstrong.

Find out more about the new hangars

Looking forwards

We have also embarked on the fourth and final phase of our 15 year Masterplan for the transformation of the National Museum of Scotland with two new galleries due to open in 2018/19 which will provide new insights into our internationally important Ancient Egypt and East Asia collections.

Conserving the mummy coffin of the Qurna queen

Above: A member of the conservation team prepares the ancient Egyptian coffin of the ‘Qurna queen’ for future display in the new Ancient Egypt gallery. © Ruth Armstrong.

Find out more about the new galleries

Making an impact beyond our walls

We continue to be very active in communities across Scotland, working with a wide range of partner museums and other organisations to share our collections, knowledge and expertise. Key aims have included boosting the profile and capacity of local museums, increasing their visitor numbers and inspiring audiences. Working with partners enables us to maximise our resources and reach new audiences across Scotland, the UK and internationally.

 Bronze mirrors

Above: Two Iron Age mirrors, one from our collection and one from the British Museum, toured museums across the UK. © Brian Cassidy.

Find out more about our national and international work

Reaching new audiences

We continue to work to diversify our audience through imaginative programming and developing new ways of engaging traditionally ‘hard to reach’ groups.

Museum socials

Above: Museum Socials provide a relaxed environment for those affected by dementia and their carers. © Ruth Armstrong.

Find out more about our outreach work

Digital development

Our new Strategic Plan prioritises expanding our online footprint through innovative digital partnerships, web developments and a wide-ranging presence on social media platforms. This year we have created digital experiences to support our new developments, grow our social media following and help a broader range of people connect with our collections wherever they are.


Above: Support from Wellcome enabled us to create Gen, a game in which players are asked to diagnose and treat an online creature’s illnesses, using real biomedical bjects displayed in the new Science and Technology galleries.

Visit the award-winning Explore section and play Gen

Preserving and conserving

Our unusually diverse collection is an important international resource – historically, culturally and intellectually. Through the further development of the National Museums Collection Centre, we are significantly improving access to our collections for research, conservation and learning.

National Museums Collection Centre

Above: Spiral-horned antelope skulls from Africa – part of the Vertebrate Biology collection.

Find out more about our research facilities

Planning for an ambitious future

Looking forward, our new Strategic Plan 2016–20 – which follows over a decade of successive investment in our collections, our museums and our visitors – aims to take us to a higher level. It reflects our continued drive to delight and inspire our visitors, to invest in our historic buildings and to research, exhibit and share our collections.

Download our new strategic plan

With thanks

We are extremely grateful to the many donors how have so generously contributed to National Museums Scotland this year. You can find out more about ways to get involved and support our work here.

Header image: Accelerating cavity from the CERN Large Electron Positron Collider, in the Enquire gallery.

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