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The Research Library is our main reading room on level 3 of the National Museum of Scotland.

About the Research Library 

Please note: The Research Library will be open to visitors by appointment from Monday 20 September 2021.

Please contact to make an appointment or for any enquiries.

The library has 5 study spaces, public Wifi access, 30,000 books on open shelves which visitors can browse (around 10% of the total collection), plus a display of 80 of our most regularly used periodical titles.

The books on display cover a range of topics including archaeology and Scottish history, museology and decorative arts and have been selected to support research and learning and assist visitors to further understand the Museum’s object collections and related activities. 

The remainder of the collection is in storage within the building and can be retrieved on request. Collection of items from storage areas is carried out prior to opening each day. 

The Research Library now holds the finding facility for the Scottish Life Archive. There is an index and guide available which lists the subjects covered in the Archive.

We offer reference only access to the collections in our libraries.

Workshop with postgraduate Genealogy students from Strathclyde University

Above: Workshop with postgraduate Genealogy students from Strathclyde University.

Library staff can offer advice and support in locating items and using the collections. If you wish to consult a particular item, you may wish to contact us in advance, so that we can have the material ready for consultation on your arrival.

You will be asked to complete a registration form if you wish to consult items from our special collections. We will require you to observe special instructions when handling items from our special collections. Library staff will advise on the appropriate procedures.

You are free to use your own laptop and there is free public wifi access in the Research Library.

Ask library staff if you wish to photocopy or photograph items. 

The library is a member of the SCURL Research Extra scheme which permits borrowing rights to registered card holders.

Contact us

National Museums Scotland Library Services
Chambers Street
Edinburgh EH1 1JF
Tel: 0131 247 4137

Research Library
Level 3
National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street
Edinburgh EH1 1JF

Opening hours
Mondays: 13:30–15:30
Tuesday to Friday 10:30–12:30, 13:30 – 15:30 (by appointment)
Closed at weekends and public holidays

Seasonal opening
The Research Library will be closed from Monday 20 December until Friday 7 January 2022. It will re-open on Monday 10 January.

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