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Membership FAQs

Everything you need to know about Member benefits, becoming a Member, renewing or changing your Membership and gift Membership.

How to contact us

Membership enquiries

If you have any questions about your Membership please email membership@nms.ac.uk and we will get back to you as soon as we can.  

Alternatively, please call us on 0131 247 4294 between 09:30-16:30 Mon-Fri.

Our postal address

Membership
National Museums Scotland
Chambers Street
Edinburgh
EH1 1JF

In the museums

You can join, renew or buy a gift of Membership at any of our museum ticket desks, and pay by cash, credit/debit card or by annual Direct Debit.

Email icon Membership Team

Frequently Asked Questions

The Government grant remains of central importance but donations, sponsorship and income from our shops, ticket sales and commercial events are increasingly critical to enabling us to continue our work. Today, around a third of the income we need to care for Scotland’s national collections and to share them with the world is generated this way.

Members are especially important to us, because their regular support and loyalty enables us to plan for the future. Their support means that future generations will be able to continue to enjoy and be inspired by the treasures in our collections – and we hope people enjoy the benefits that Membership brings to them in return for their generosity.

Your support is vital in helping to protect the objects in our care, so that the stories they hold can inspire people now and in the future.

To support the important work of our Museums, you can:

How do I become a Member?

  • Join online
  • Visit the Ticket or Information Desk in any of our Museums
  • Call the Membership Team on 0131 247 4294
  • Email membership@nms.ac.uk to request a call back

How do I renew my Membership?

If you pay by Direct Debit we will renew your Membership automatically and send you a new Membership card and advance notice of the next collection at least 10 working days in advance of your account being debited. You can cancel future Direct Debit payments at any time.

If you do not pay by Direct Debit, you will receive a letter to remind you when it is time to renew, around four weeks before your current card expires. You can renew online, by phone or by post. 

Can I renew my Membership online?

Yes, you can now renew your Membership online. Please note you will need to register as an online user first if you have not already done so.

How do I cancel my Membership?

If you would like to cancel your Membership please email membership@nms.ac.uk and we will get that organised for you. Alternatively, please ring 0131 247 4294 and leave a message with your name and number and we will call you back as soon as possible.

If you pay your Membership fee by Direct Debit, to make sure no further payments are taken, please contact your bank to cancel your direct debit.

If you have already redeemed free tickets to our exhibitions or museums with an entry fee using your membership you may still cancel but we reserve the right to charge the standard cost of the tickets used.

Entrance tickets to the National Museum of Flight, the Museum of Rural Life, or paid exhibitions at the National Museum of Scotland can be redeemed against the cost of a Membership.

Please note that you may only redeem a ticket which you have purchased yourself. Redemptions are limited to two adult tickets and three children for a Family Membership (or one adult and four children), two Adult tickets for a Joint and Guest, or one ticket for an Individual, Student or Disabled Membership.

Why is the Student Membership only available to full-time students?

It is an industry standard that Student Membership is available only to full-time students, however part-time students can still enjoy the concession price charged for exhibitions and events (valid student ID required).

Why don’t you have a Membership for Over 60s/Retired/Seniors? 

The support of National Museums Scotland’s Members is vital to our work, the care of our collections and the development of each of our sites. A large proportion of our Members are over 60 and a discounted category exclusively for those over 60 would have a significant impact on this crucial and much-needed support. We do offer concessions for full-time Students and Members with disabilities.

What should I do if I lose my Membership card?

Please ensure that you bring your Membership card with you to claim your Membership benefits, including free entry to exhibitions.

Our lifetime Member cards are fully recyclable and made out of 100% recycled plastic. If you lose your card, you can purchase a new one here.

 

I pay for my Membership by Direct Debit. How can I change my bank details?

Please contact the Membership Team on 0131 247 4294 to arrange this.

Can I change the frequency / payment date of my Direct Debit?

No, all Direct Debits are payable as a single annual payment on the first working day of the month (as advised in your joining letter). We are unable to offer monthly Direct Debits as we do not currently have the resources required to manage the increase in administration this would facilitate.

I want to change the second name on my Joint / Family Membership. How can I do this?

If you do not pay by Direct Debit, and are due to renew your Membership, you can amend your category and the names of the Members on the renewal form. However, if you are midway through your Membership or pay by Direct Debit, please contact the Membership Team on 0131 247 4294 or email membership@nms.ac.uk and we can make the necessary changes.

How do I book Member tickets online?

If this is your first time logging in as a Member you will need to activate your account first before you can access your Member tickets. To do this simply enter the email address you have registered with us here and you will receive an email to create your password.  

You will then be able to click on ‘Continue shopping’. If it’s for an event select the event in the calendar or, if it’s for exhibition or to visit one of our sites, select the date and then the time you would like to book tickets for. Your Member tickets will appear in the ticket options.  

Select the number of tickets valid for your Membership type then proceed to checkout. 

To book tickets as a Member you will need to be logged into your account. If you cannot see the option for Member tickets or you are having problems activating or logging into your account please contact the Membership Team.  

I have a Joint Membership but I live in a different household, can I book Member tickets using my own email address? 

For all Membership types, including Joint, only one email address can be used to book Member tickets.   

If you purchase a Joint Membership and live in two different households, all tickets must be booked using the email address provided when the Membership was purchased. If you would like to book tickets separately, an Individual Membership might be more suitable. To change your Membership type please contact the Membership office on 0131 247 4294 or membership@nms.ac.uk 

Do I need to pay for special exhibitions?

As a Member you receive FREE admission to all special exhibitions and you can visit as many times as you like. You will need to show a valid Membership card to obtain free entry.  

We aim to ensure that Members are able to visit our exhibitions upon arrival. However, on days of particularly high visitor numbers we may need to give you a ticket for timed entry at a particular time during the day or, if the exhibition is ‘sold out’ that day, a timed ticket for another day. We encourage Members to book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.  

I have just joined as a Member and want to visit the special exhibition today. Is the Membership valid straight away?

Yes, in most cases your Membership is valid from the moment you buy it.  

If you have joined online you will be able to immediately book tickets online using the login details you used when purchasing your Membership. You will also receive a confirmation email which you can either print off or show the email on your smartphone as proof of Membership to access onsite benefits such as the café and shop discount whilst you wait for your card(s) to arrive.  

If you joined by card/cash in person at one of our sites you will also be able to book Member tickets online using the email address you provided when you purchased your Membership. You will first need to activate your Membership online and set a password. Please see the section ‘How do I book my Member tickets’ above for a step-by-step guide on how to do this. You will also receive a temporary Membership card which can be used in the shop and café.  

If you joined by Direct Debit in person at one of our sites, you will also receive a temporary Membership card which will give you free unlimited access to all our sites and exhibitions, as well as Member discounts in the shop and café. You will not be able to immediately book Member tickets online until your Membership and has been processed and Direct Debit set up by the Membership team. This may take 2-3 working days. Once your Membership has been processed you will receive a confirmation email which will prompt you to activate your online Membership account. Once you have done this you will be able to book Member tickets online.  

Annual Direct Debit payments are not taken on the day you join but are scheduled ahead of time to allow us to set up the instruction with your bank.  

We aim to send you your new Membership pack within 10 working days once an application has been received.  

Can I bring a guest to the special exhibition? Can I bring a child?

If you have bought “Guest Membership” you can bring a guest of any age - you will have one Membership card which will show “Individual and Guest” under the category. 

You can upgrade Individual Membership to include a Guest or a second named Member for £10 if you currently pay by Direct Debit, or for £13 if you pay by any other method. Upgrades can only be organised by the Membership Team so please call 0131 247 4294 or email membership@nms.ac.uk. 

All of our museums welcome children and under 5s go free to our museums, special exhibitions and most events. Up to three children between the age of 5 and 15 are included as part of a Family Membership. If you wish to upgrade your Membership this can only be organised by the Membership Team, so please call 0131 247 4294 or email membership@nms.ac.uk. 

Do Members get special rates to big events at the National Museum of Flight and the National Museum of Rural Life?

Members get FREE entry to the big events at National Museum of Flight and National Museum of Rural Life, such as Awesome Bricks.  

Please note that for some events, such as Awesome Bricks, there might be a limited number of Member tickets available due to event capacity. All Member tickets will be bookable in advance on a first come, first serve basis. For some events there may also be a car parking fee per car for all visitors including Members. 

Member tickets are only valid for active Members and you must bring your valid Membership card with you to the event. You may be denied entry if you book Member tickets and are not covered by a valid Membership at the time of the event. 

Please see ‘How do I book my Member tickets’ for more information about how to book your Member tickets.  

Are there any special events for Members?

Yes, there are a variety of events and experiences each year exclusively for Members which give a glimpse behind-the-scenes, so Members can find out how their support brings our collections to life.

Members can also take advantage of our free or discounted tickets to events as part of our extensive adult events programme. Hear experts talk about fascinating topics and gain a deeper understanding of the work of National Museums Scotland. These are subject to availability.

Information about Members’ events is advertised in advance: your Explorer magazine will contain details of any upcoming Member-only events and these are also listed online when the free tickets are available to book. If you have provided an email address you will automatically receive Member notifications with details of priority booking, discounts and free tickets for events as part of your Membership benefits. You can unsubscribe from these by following the link at the bottom of these emails.

See more details about our exclusive Member events

However if you would also like to hear the latest news about forthcoming exhibitions, our work, events, products, special offers and ways of supporting National Museums Scotland, the easiest way is for us to inform you via our regular Member eBulletins and visitor eNewsletters. To receive these please contact membership@nms.ac.uk to be added to these lists. You can also unsubscribe from these emails at any time by following the link at the bottom of these emails

How do I book for public lectures and events?

You can book for Member and public events by contacting our Museums’ ticket desks:

  • Call 0300 123 6789 (select the relevant museum, then select option 1) 
  • Visit the specific event web page and book online. You will need to log into your Member account to see the Member ticket option in the drop down 
  • Book in person at any museum ticket desk 

Please note that booking fees may apply. Please see our ticketing terms and conditions for more information. Bookings for any events cannot be made via the Membership Office.

Can I lend my Membership card to my partner or a friend?

Only the named Member may use their Membership card. Membership cards should not be passed on to third parties for use, and may be de-activated if abuse of the card is suspected. You can share your enjoyment with a friend or family member by upgrading to a Joint or Guest Membership from £10 if you pay by Direct Debit or from £13 if you pay by another method. Contact the Membership Team on 0131 247 4294 or membership@nms.ac.uk.

Can I bring a guest?

You can bring as many people as your Membership allows. If you have opted to purchase a Guest Membership, you can bring a guest (your card will say “Individual and Guest” under the category). If you have Joint or Family Membership, each named Member will receive their own card which can be used together or independently. 

Family Membership can be used for up to two named adults and up to three children under 16 years, or one adult and up to four children under 16 years. 

Joint Membership can only be used by the two individuals named on the Membership.  

As a Member, how do I find out about forthcoming Museum exhibitions and events?

If you have provided an email address you will automatically receive Member notifications with details of priority booking, discounts and free tickets for events as part of your Membership benefits. You can unsubscribe from these by following the link at the bottom of these emails.

However, if you would also like to hear the latest news about forthcoming exhibitions, our work, events, products, special offers and ways of supporting National Museums Scotland, the easiest way is for us to inform you via our regular Member eBulletins and visitor eNewsletters. To receive these please contact membership@nms.ac.uk to be added to these lists. You can also unsubscribe from these emails at any time by following the link at the bottom of these emails.

Do Members get free admission to Edinburgh Castle to visit the National War Museum?

No, the National War Museum is situated inside Edinburgh Castle, which is a site owned by Historic Environment Scotland. As such, Members of National Museums Scotland receive a 10% discount on Castle admission rather than free entry. Access to the National War Museum itself is free of charge. 

On visiting Edinburgh Castle as a National Museums Scotland Member, please proceed to Visitor Information to purchase your discounted ticket. This should also allow you to bypass any queues at the Ticket Desk.  

If booking your tickets online in advance, please contact the Membership Office to get your Member discount code.  

Do Members get free use of the museum cloakroom?

No, Members do not receive free use of the cloakroom. We charge £2-£7 depending on the size of your locker. Please be aware that any items deposited in our museum cloakrooms are left at your own risk. 

Do Members get special discounts in the shops and cafés?

Members receive a 20% discount in all the museum cafés and a 10% discount in all museum shops, including the online shop. Just show your Membership card at the start of your transaction to claim your discount. Look out for your online shop discount code in the letter accompanying your new/renewed Membership cards and in our regular Member e-bulletins. 

How do I find out about Member-specific special offers?

If you have provided an email address you will automatically receive Member notifications with details of priority booking, discounts and free tickets for events as part of your Membership benefits. You can unsubscribe from these by following the link at the bottom of these emails. Also take a look at our website where we list our events and special offers for Members.

However, if you would also like to hear the latest news about forthcoming exhibitions, our work, events, products, special offers and ways of supporting National Museums Scotland, the easiest way is for us to inform you via our regular Member eBulletins and visitor eNewsletters. To receive these please contact membership@nms.ac.uk to be added to these lists. You can also unsubscribe from these emails at any time by following the link at the bottom of these emails.

What can I expect to receive after buying a Gift Membership?

You will receive an email for yourself as purchaser and an email to forward to the recipient, within one hour of completing your order.

To activate the Membership:

·         Visit my.nms.ac.uk/donate/contribute1 or click the button above
·         Select the Membership type to the value that has been gifted
·         Enter personal details and create an account
·         On the payment screen, enter the Gift certificate code in the Gift certificate ID section and select ‘Apply gift certificate’
·         Read and agree to the Privacy Notice and Checkout

A welcome pack will then be sent to them within 10 working days and they will be able to access their Member benefits online immediately.

When do gift Memberships start?

Your Gift Membership starts when the Membership is activated by your recipient.  

Are Gift Membership payments eligible for Gift Aid?

Gift Membership payments, or payments made by someone other than the Member, are not eligible for Gift Aid. 

Gift Aid allows you to increase the value of your Membership fee by enabling us to reclaim tax that you have already paid at basic rate through UK income tax and/or capital gains tax.

For every £1 you give, we can claim an additional 25p from HMRC. So, for example, if you purchased an Individual Membership at £44, National Museums Scotland would receive an additional £11 from HMRC, without you paying a penny more.

Simply complete the Gift Aid declaration when you join online, download and complete a pdf application form or let us know when you purchase a Membership over the phone.

Further information
Please note that the amount you pay in UK income tax and/or capital gains tax must at least equal the amount National Museums Scotland claims on all your donations in that tax year. If you would like to know more about Gift Aid, please contact our Development Team via email on development@nms.ac.uk or telephone 0131 247 4095

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Members can login to their online accounts through the membership portal.

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We're sorry, online sales are unavailable at this time.

Online ticket and Membership purchases are not available at the moment due to a system outage. Tickets and Memberships can still be bought in person via cash payments at our museums.
Game On ticket holders can still attend the exhibition by showing their digital ticket on entry.
We are working to resolve this issue currently. Please check back soon for further information. Thank you for your patience.