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National Museums Collection Centre

The National Museums Collection Centre in Granton, Edinburgh is a specialist facility where we care for and research our collections.

From whale skeletons and insects to motorbikes and high fashion, the Collection Centre holds millions of objects and specimens.

Conserving a Venetian Guitar.

What we do

The Collection Centre is a hub for cutting-edge research and innovation, training and teaching, as well as the preparation of collections for exhibition, loan, and tour. The work we carry out and facilitate here includes research, scientific analysis, conservation, and digitisation.

  • From stabilising ancient papyrus and cleaning fragile textiles to conserving large engines with moving parts, our collections care and conservation teams care for a vast range of collections. In addition, the Natural Sciences team prepares specimens for display and research, with their work ranging from taxidermy to fossil preparation.
  • Digitising our collections helps us to find out more about them, create detailed visual records and share them online. The Collection Centre is the focal point for our programme of digitisation producing hundreds of thousands of records and images of our collections which can be viewed on the Explore section of our website.
  • We lend collections to museums and institutions in the UK and internationally and receive loans for display in our own museums. You can find out more about how to borrow on the Loans from our Collection section of our website.
  • We facilitate research loans from our Natural Sciences collection to enable specimens to be studied closely. Please contact our Natural Sciences team to learn more. 
  • In addition to carrying out our own research, each year we welcome hundreds of visiting researchers from across the world. Our specialist labs and study areas facilitate the in-depth exploration of our collections. At this time due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, we are  unable to welcome researchers to the National Museums Collection Centre with the exception of essential site visits. However, we are responding to research enquires remotely where we can. If you have a research enquiry, please contact the relevant curatorial department.

Textile conservation in action at the National Museums Collection Centre.

A conservator wearing latex gloves shows some textiles laid out on tables to visitors on a tour

Showcasing the textile collections.

Collection Centre tours

We offer visitors the chance to explore our work behind the scenes at the Collection Centre on regular guided tours. Find out more information and book your place.

For those with specialist interests in specific areas of our collections, we organise study visits as well as tours for students, groups and societies. We also host artists and designers who are looking for inspiration, and members of diaspora communities.

The National Museums Collection Centre houses an extensive Natural Sciences collection.

Collection Centre facilities

The Collection Centre has facilities to access, research, digitise and conserve collections. This includes specialist conservation laboratories, photography studios, collection research spaces, as well as heritage science laboratories with equipment ranging from PDA-UPLC, XRF, SEM-EDX to XRD and FTIR.

An interior shot of the collections centre with a long white desk and storage area in the background

State-of-the-art collections storage and research facilities at the National Museums Collection Centre.

A man photographing collections objects on a black background and a woman looking into a microscope.

Colleagues based at the National Museums Collection Centre hold a wide range of collections expertise.

Future plans

The City of Edinburgh Council has outlined ambitious plans to regenerate the Granton Waterfront area. National Museums Scotland is one of the partners on this project, which is committed to making Granton Waterfront one of Edinburgh’s best places to live, work, learn and visit. 

We share some facilities at the Collection Centre with National Galleries of Scotland, and we are working with them to align our future plans to develop collection facilities making them more accessible to visitors.

How to find us

National Museums Collection Centre
242 West Granton Road
Granton
Edinburgh EH5 1JA
Tel: 0131 247 4470

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