Thursday 19 October, 2017

Down to Earth

Friday 10 November 2017 to Sunday 1 April 2018
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh
Admission: FREE


Down to Earth, a new display at the National Museum of Scotland will reunite the four fragments of the Strathmore Meteorite for the first time since it fell to earth 100 years ago on 3 December 1917.

Opening on 10 November, this display will present the story of the largest and best-documented meteorite fall in Scotland. It was Henry Coates, curator of the Perthshire Museum of Natural History, who first examined the pieces and began to scientifically document the event with the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, the Royal Scottish Museum (now the National Museum of Scotland), and others. He visited the fall sites, photographing each one, and took eyewitness accounts from those who had seen the meteorite flash through the sky.

Peter Davidson, Senior Curator of Mineralogy at National Museums Scotland said:

“Down to Earth presents a fantastic opportunity to reunite all the fragments of the Strathmore Meteorite for the centenary of its fall whilst bringing together eyewitness accounts of the event. It was these stories and recollections which enabled Coates to piece together the story of the night of 3 December 1917 meaning the Strathmore Meteorite is a wonderful example of observational science.”

As well as reuniting the fragments for the first time since the meteorite fell, including a fragment on loan from the Natural History Museum, London, and with the support of Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Down to Earth will bring together eyewitness accounts, documents and newspaper articles telling the human story of this out-of-this-world occurrence.

These contemporary voices will offer a fascinating insight into the events of the day, shedding light on how the meteorite fall was experienced by those closest to it whilst also highlighting how these first-hand accounts contributed to the scientific documentation of the fall.

Displayed alongside the four fragments of the Strathmore Meteorite will be the High Possil, Glenrothes and Perth meteorites representing the three meteorite falls documented in Scotland between 1804 and 1998, as well as meteorites from all over the world from National Museums Scotland’s collections.

Through the variety of meteorites on display, Down to Earth will explore the science behind meteorites and how these rocks from outer space have come to play important roles in day to day lives.

Further information from Jessica Rideout, Alice Wyllie or Bruce Blacklaw, Press Office, National Museums Scotland, tel 0131 247 4391,

Notes to Editors 

  1. National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation 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.
  2. The National Museum of Scotland is the most popular museum in the country outside of London (source: Association of Leading Visitor Attractions). The National Museum of Scotland was awarded ‘Gold’ Level Green Tourism Visitor Attraction status in 2016.

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