Wednesday 30 November 2016

National Museums Scotland 2017 Programme:  Ancient Egypt, Early Scottish Silver and the Jacobites

National Museums Scotland has revealed its exhibitions programme for 2017.

The packed programme will explore a diverse range of themes from the story of the Jacobites to the secret world of primates, the mysteries of ancient Egyptian burial to Scotland’s early silver and the life-saving work of The HALO Trust.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland said:

“The collections of National Museums Scotland cover an astounding breadth of subject areas and disciplines. This year’s exhibition programme reflects this, showing unique collections, international treasures and fresh insights encompassing our closest evolutionary relatives in the natural world, one of the world’s most enduringly fascinating ancient civilisations, and key events in the story of Scotland.
“In addition to exhibitions at the National Museum of Scotland and the National War Museum we have a programme of touring exhibitions, taking examples from the outstanding national collections out, beyond our walls, to venues across Scotland and the world.”

Two major shows headline the 2017 programme, the first celebrates the fascinating lives of primates, and the second will tell the real story of the Jacobites in its complex European context.

Running until 23 April 2017, Monkey Business is a family-friendly exhibition which explores the world of primates, from the tiny mouse lemur to the mighty gorilla. Featuring more than 50 spectacular new taxidermy specimens, visitors can discover how different primates move and communicate, how they have developed tools to get hold of food and their complex social systems. It will also examine the relationship between humans and primates, including the ways in which many species are threatened with extinction through the impact of habitat loss and hunting. This exhibition is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites opens on 23 June 2017The first major exhibition on the Jacobites for 70 years, it will reveal the truth about the rise and fall of the Jacobites, with a key focus on Prince Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. It will feature exceptional material from National Museums Scotland’s collections and spectacular treasures from across the UK and France. This exhibition is sponsored by Baillie Gifford Investment Managers.

Opening on 31 March, The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial presents the story of one extraordinary tomb, built around 1290 BC and reused for over 1000 years. The tomb was constructed in the great city of Thebes (modern day Luxor), shortly after the reign of Tutankhamun, for the Chief of Police and his wife. It was looted and reused several times, leaving behind a collection of beautiful objects from various eras. These will be displayed alongside objects found in nearby tombs, giving a sense of how burial in ancient Egypt changed over time. The tomb’s final use occurred shortly after the Roman conquest of Egypt, when it was sealed intact with the remarkable burials of an entire family. This exhibition is sponsored by Shepherd + Wedderburn and comes ahead of the opening of a new permanent Ancient Egypt gallery at the National Museum of Scotland in 2018/19.

Scotland’s Early Silver opens on 13 October 2017. The exhibition will tell the story of silver, a precious and powerful material, during the emergence of early medieval kingdoms. While some places favoured gold, in Scotland silver was the most important precious metal for over six hundred years. As well as showcasing impressive and beautiful objects, Scotland’s Early Silver will shed light on the foundations of the first kingdoms of Scotland. The exhibition, which will tour nationally after showing in Edinburgh, builds on the Glenmorangie Research Project and draws on new findings to give fresh insights into this formative period of Scottish history.

Gifts for a Jacobite Prince, currently showing in Perth until February before travelling on to Inverness, features a sword and targe, or highland shield, which were probably gifted to the Bonnie Prince, by James, 3rd Duke of Perth, a committed supporter of the Jacobite cause. Other national touring displays include Fossil Hunters, exploring how life on earth moved from water to land around 350 million years ago, and Next of Kin, showing the place of objects in individual remembrance of the First World War.

Opening on 17 March 2017 at the National War Museum in Edinburgh Castle, Safer Steps: Working with The HALO Trust will celebrate the work of the world’s largest humanitarian mine clearance organisation.  Princess Diana first brought the lifesaving work of the Dumfries-based HALO Trust to the world’s attention when she visited Angola’s minefields and HALO has continued to clear these devastating devices from affected areas around the world. Through personal testimony, photography and fascinating objects, the exhibition will explore the lifesaving work of this major Scottish charity. 

A series of free displays in the National Museum of Scotland’s Grand Gallery will continue throughout the year on topics ranging from innovation in Scottish pottery to the centenary of the Strathmore meteorite falling to earth in Scotland.

The National Museum of Scotland




Stone Age Jade from the Alps

20 May 2016 –

8 January 2017


Wildlife Photographer of the Year

16 September  2016 –

19 February 2017


Nordic Modernist Design

23 September  2016 –

12 March 2017


Monkey Business

9 December 2016 –

23 April 2017

Adults £10/£8, Child (5-15) £7 (under 5s free)

Scottish pottery: Art and Innovation

3 February 2017 – 25 June 2017


Fossil Tales

7 April 2017 – 10 September 2017


The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial

31 March 2017 –

3 September 2017


Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites

23 June 2017 –

12 November 2017

Ticket prices will be announced in 2017

The Age of Oil

21 July 2017 –

5 November 2017


Down to Earth

5 October 2017 – 1 April 2017


Scotland’s Early Silver

13 October 2017 –

25 February 2018


Modernist Jewellery

1 December 2017 –

29 April 2018



National War Museum 




Life Support: Stories from the Royal Regiment of Scotland


22 April 2016 –

26 February 2017

Price included in admission to Edinburgh Castle

Safer Steps: Working with The HALO Trust

16 March 2017 – March 2018

Price included in admission to Edinburgh Castle

Touring Exhibitions 



Scotland’s Early Silver

Dates and locations tba

Next of Kin

Touring Scotland as part of the First World War Centenary programme

Reflections on Celts

A Celts highlight exhibition touring the UK

Fossil Hunters

Following a successful run at the National Museum of Scotland, this temporary exhibition will tour venues across Scotland

Gifts for a Jacobite Prince

A tour of Scotland in support of the Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition

Notes to Editors

  1. To sign up for our fortnightly bulletin listing events and exhibitions at National Museums Scotland please email
  2. National Museums Scotland looks after museum collections of national and international importance and provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display.
  3. The National Museum of Scotland reopened in summer 2011 following a three-year, £50m redevelopment. With over 9 million visitors since reopening, the National Museum of Scotland is the most popular UK attraction in the country outside of London (source: Association of Leading Visitor Attractions).In 2016, ten new galleries will open at the museum in a project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Wellcome Trust, a number of other Trusts and Foundations, individual donors and the Scottish Government.
  4. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is on tour from the Natural History Museum. Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 25, edited by Rosamund Kidman-Cox, is published by the Natural History Museum, priced £25. Natural History Museum Publishing produces high-quality, fully illustrated non-fiction books about the natural world. To view the entire range of books, visit
  1. The Tomb is sponsored by Shepherd +  Wedderburn
  2. Monkey Business is supported by players of the People’s Postcode lottery.

About People’s Postcode Lottery:

  • People’s Postcode Lottery is a charity lottery. Players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes, while raising money for charities and good causes across Great Britain and globally
  • A minimum of 30% goes directly to charities and players have raised £129.9 Million for good causes across the country
  • £10 for 10 draws paid monthly in advance with prizes every day. For further prize information visit:
  • Maximum amount a single ticket can win is 10% of the draw revenue to a maximum of £400,000
  • Players can sign up by Direct Debit, credit card or PayPal online at, or by calling 0808 10-9-8-7-6-5
  • Postcode Lottery Limited is regulated by the Gambling Commission under certificate nr 000-000829-N-102511-010 and 000-000829-R-102513-009. Registered office: Titchfield House, 69/85 Tabernacle Street, London, EC2A 4RR    
  • People’s Postcode Lottery manages multiple society lotteries on behalf of a range of charities including sixteen grant-giving trusts. For details on which society lottery is running each week, visit
  1. Nordic Modernist Design is supported by the Embassy of Denmark


30 Nov 2016

Further information and images from Bruce Blacklaw, press Office, tel 0131 247 4165 or email    


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