At the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, we can help you deliver learning across many different curriculum areas. Art, design and fashion, science and technology, Scottish history, the natural world or cultures and peoples from around the globe - it’s all here under one roof.

Requesting a visit

Request a visit

If you are planning a visit with an overseas group, please see our overseas school pages.

Preparing for your visit

What options are available for a visit?

Schools can book to visit the museum as:

  • A general visit, free of charge
  • A teacher-led handling box
  • An event or workshop
  • An exhibition visit.

Please select your preferred option when completing the booking request form.

Overseas school groups can find out more information here.

What can my class see and do?

There is so much to see and do your class can plan to spend your full day visiting the National Museum of Scotland:

How can I prepare my class for the visit?

Prepare your class for a visit by using our welcome guide in class:

Welcome Guide Powerpoint

Welcome Guide PDF

We also have visual stories available.

We suggest you read the general visit page for more information.

Do I need to book in advance?

To ensure your visit runs smoothly, all school visits to the National Museum of Scotland must be booked in advance. Please complete the booking request form here.

How much does a visit cost?

Pre-booked general school visits and downloadable resources are free of charge.

All other events, activities and workshops have a cost. Details of these can be found under individual activity pages.

Your school will be invoiced after your visit.

Do you run sessions or activities for pupils?

  • Explore the past using real and replica objects in a teacher-led object handling session. Sessions are introduced by our Enabler team.
  • Take part in a workshop or event led by experienced facilitators – full details of sessions for primary and secondary students can be found in the schools programmes.
  • Primary school pupils can meet Vikings and Jacobites in living history sessions.
  • Secondary pupils can take part in Careers Hive, our week-long interactive STEM festival for S1-3 classes
  • Events and activities are also available throughout the school year, giving pupils the opportunity to meet experts and hear about fascinating topics!

A full list of sessions and activities is available here.

How long do sessions last and when should we arrive?

  • Sessions last between 60-75 minutes. The duration of all sessions can be found in the schools programmes.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your session is due to begin so you can use the toilets and put bags and coats in the cloakroom.
  • You should allow additional time after your session if you wish to visit the shop.
  • For each visit, we will include a general gallery visit - this is your opportunity to explore the wider museum

Will there be time to see the rest of the museum before or after the session?

  • We recommend that if you book a morning session you give yourself time to visit the galleries after lunch.
  • If you book an afternoon session you should arrive in time to visit the galleries before lunch.

Can I download resources for my visit?

How do I book a handling box?

Our handling boxes contain artefacts and natural world specimens for students to touch and investigate. Handling boxes are available to use during a visit to the museum, but must be booked in advance.

To book, please complete the booking request form. Below is a list of the handling boxes we offer to use in the museum. Click on the links to download the teacher's notes for each box.

During your visit

Is there parking for our bus or minibus?

There is a coach drop-off point outside the Museum on Chambers Street.

Where can we leave our bags and coats?

We have a dedicated schools' cloakroom off the Entrance Hall in the museum. You will be allocated a number of tubs for you to leave jackets and packed lunches. 

Items left in the cloakroom are at the owners' own risk as the area is not secure. We recommend pupils only bring jackets and lunches with them.

Please let us know when booking if you’d like to use this facility as availability is limited during busy periods. 

Where can we eat our lunch?

We have a schools' lunchroom off the Entrance Hall in the museum. You will then be allocated a 30 minute time slot for using the lunch room.

The lunchroom contains tables and chairs. The space will be used by other schools at the same time as your group. Please keep your group together and tidy up after your lunch. 

Is the space we'll be visiting fully accessible?

The Learning Centre and galleries are fully accessible via lifts and we have accessible toilets. There is a Changing Places (U) toilet in the Entrance Hall on Level 0.

You can find full information for visitors with disabilities here.

Can I take photographs?

We are happy for you to take photographs, including flash photography, in the general museum. Photography is not permitted in special exhibitions, unless otherwise stated. If you wish to take a photo of a member of museum staff, please ask their permission before doing so. 

In addition, we may also wish to take photographs of you! Please fill out your photography permission form if requested.

Is there a shop/café?

There is a Museum Shop in the Entrance Hall, Level 0 (please ensure there is a ratio of 1 adult to 10 children when in shop).

There are cafés in the Entrance Hall, Level 1 and on the Balcony of Level 3, overlooking the Grand Gallery. Packed lunches should be eaten in the schools cloakroom. Take-away tea/coffee/hot liquids are not permitted in the museum. 

Risk assessments

Do you have a risk assessment we can use?

You can download our guidelines for teachers to help you write your own risk assessment here. Teachers can make a free pre-visit to carry out their risk assessment.

Do you have behaviour guidelines?

Yes and we ask that pupils visiting in school groups are accompanied at all times during their visit at a ratio of:

1 adult: 5 pupils (under the age of 5)

1 adult: 10 pupils (primary school pupils)

1 adult: 15 pupils (secondary school pupils)

Where pupils require support on a 1:1 ratio, this adult should be included over and above these ratios.

We have developed an agreement which sets out what we aim to offer during your visit, and in return what we ask from you.

Do you have safety guidelines?

We ask that pupils visiting in school groups are accompanied at all times during their visit at a ratio of:

1 adult: 5 pupils (under the age of 5)

1 adult: 10 pupils (primary school pupils)

1 adult: 15 pupils (secondary school pupils)

Where pupils require support on a 1:1 ratio, this adult should be included over and above these ratios.

We will send you full safety guidelines with your booking confirmation. Please check them before your visit. In addition, please read and follow any safety notices and instructions from Visitor Experience staff.

Terms and conditions

Terms of booking

For facilitated (charged) sessions:

  • Scottish State schools (where appropriate) should raise a Purchase Order through their Local Authority procurement system for the maximum cost of charged sessions.
  • Purchase Order numbers should be notified to schools@nms.ac.uk at least seven days in advance of the visit.
  • For sessions charged per pupil, schools will be charged for the number of pupils booked, unless 10 days advance notice of change in numbers is notified to schools@nms.ac.uk.

Cancellation policy

  • National Museums Scotland reserve the right to charge a fee for short notice cancellations or no-shows.
  • Bookings cancelled less than three weeks prior to the visit may incur an administration fee of 50% of the value of chargeable events.
  • Bookings cancelled less than two weeks prior to the visit may incur an administration fee of 100% of the value of chargeable events.
  • No-show or last-minute cancellations of free workshops or staff-led sessions may incur a £50.00 administration fee.
  • In certain circumstances, such as adverse weather conditions, National Museums Scotland may waive the administration fee.
  • Cancellations should be notified in writing to schools@nms.ac.uk.
Explore more

Feature
Overseas school groups

We welcome overseas school groups to our museums and can offer a wide range of resources.
More

Feature
Trails and visit resources

Find trails and resources to enhance your school visit to our four museums.
More

Feature
Visiting with additional support needs pupils

We have a range of initiatives to support and welcome pupils with additional support needs to the National Museum of Scotland.
More
Back to top