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2014 pupils meteorites (blue tables)

STEM engagement

Across our museums we preserve, display and interpret the many ways in which people have used science and technology through the ages to investigate the world around us and to try to make our lives easier and better.

Our collections cover life, the universe and everything in it: from science and engineering to nature and outer space.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) engagement forms an integral part of our public programming, through innovative science shows, regular talks and lectures on science topics. As an active scientific research institution, we are able to draw on the expertise of our curatorial departments across the scientific disciplines and our STEM Engagement Group includes colleagues from across departments acting as a forum for discussion and development.


Maths Week Scotland

Completing its sixth successful year in 2022, Maths Week Scotland is a week of events and activities with special events throughout the year.

During the week itself, a range of events and activities take place across Scotland engaging communities, families, schools and adults, including: 

  • Competitions
  • Online events
  • Face-to-face activity at local museums and science centres
  • School activity packs for Early, Primary and Secondary
  • Community learning activities
  • Resources on maths in careers
  • Virtual teacher and CLD provider CLPL sessions

Find out more and how you can get involved at

National Museums Scotland are supported by the Scottish Government to deliver Maths Week Scotland.

  • Discover Edinburgh Castle through maths from the comfort of home with our online trail. How was maths used to build the castle? How did the radius of a circle help people survive a siege? A paper copy of the trail is also available at Edinburgh Castle
  • Find out about the importance of maths during the Second World War with a peek in our enigma machine and try cracking some codes
  • Watch our Women in Maths video series. Did any of the careers surprise you? What other careers can you think of that involve/using maths? Try creating your own video by interviewing someone you know.
  • For queries regarding schools activities at National Museums Scotland email

Awesome Bricks at the National Museum of Flight. Photo © Chris Scott.

Learning and Engagement

Our Learning and Engagement department has a wealth of experience in hosting public science events across our sites. We are a major partner and venue for the Edinburgh International Science Festival and collaborate with other leading institutions such as the University of Edinburgh, the Institute of Physics and science centres across Scotland.

Through our informal and formal programming we deliver science engagement across wide-ranging and diverse audiences.

Digitally imaging insects in amber.

Scientific research

Our research unearths the significance of the millions of objects in our care and shares it with a wide audience, in Scotland and abroad. National Museums Scotland is recognised as an Independent Research Organisation by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

The Natural Sciences department undertakes fundamental scientific research in a variety of areas ranging from understanding life in the past to how modern climate change is impacting species distribution today. We collaborate with many university partners and supervise undergraduate and graduate student projects.

Our Science and Technology department looks after one of the most significant collections in Britain. Our collection and research covers four main areas: science, transport, communication and industry and engineering.

The Collections Services department provides practical skills and advice to improve the preservation and accessibility of the National Museums Scotland's collections. The Analytical Research section examines archaeological and historical objects by scientific methods to gain information about their condition, technology, history and use.

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