National Museums Scotland has the largest museum library collection in Scotland. Our library services support the research and learning needs of Museum staff, visitors and the wider external research community. There are two libraries which have public access - the Research Library in the National Museum of Scotland (our main reading room) and the National War Museum Library
The founding library collection dates back 235 years with its roots in the collections of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. It is now a modern research library with collections and services reflecting the strength and variety of the Museum’s collections and research directions.
'Etherem qui genuit' [= Aether who begets.]; illustration of Jupiter and a seven-lined capital 'E' from our oldest book: Genealogiae deorum gentilium by Giovanni Boccaccio, Venice, 1487.
Plate XXIII of De uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen Asia, Africa en America by Pieter Cramer,1779.
L'Urubu ou Roi des Vautours de Cayenne, from Histoire naturelle des oiseaux, by Georges Louis Leclerc Buffon.
Prione, Prionus from Entomologie, ou Histoire naturelle des insectes, by A.G. Olivier,1808.
Rugyvith, Porevith, Porenuth, Suantovite from Britannia antiqua illustrata, by Aylett Sammes, 1676.
Airs and melodies peculiar to the Highland of Scotland and the Isles.
"Discovery" April 1902 from The South Polar Times.
Decorative half-title page from Les delices des yeux et de l' esprit, 1764.
The library has a unique collection which is particularly strong in archaeology and decorative arts, consisting of:
More information is available on the range and coverage of our library collection and you can also browse the library catalogue to find out more about individual books and journals we hold.
The Research Library is on Level 3 of the National Museum of Scotland adjacent to the Technology by Design gallery.
The National War Museum Scotland Library in Edinburgh Castle is appointment only on Tuesday mornings.
National Museums Scotland Library Services
Edinburgh EH1 1JF
Tel: 0131 247 4137
National Museum of Scotland
Edinburgh EH1 1JF
Mondays: 13:30–15:30 (by appointment)
Tuesday to Friday 10:30–12:30, 13:30 – 15:30 (by appointment)
Closed at weekends and public holidays
The Research Library will be closed from Monday 20 December until Friday 7 January 2022. It will re-open on Monday 10 January.
The National War Museum Library will be closed from Tuesday 21 December until Tuesday 4 January 2022. It will re-open on Tuesday 11 January.