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Accessibility

We want everyone who comes to our museums to enjoy their time with us and make the most of their visit.

We want everyone who comes to our museums to enjoy their time with us and make the most of their visit.

Find out more about accessibility at the National Museum of Scotland in our video or read more information below.

Getting around the museum

  • There is level access to the museum via the main doors to the Entrance Hall on Chambers Street and the Tower entrance at the corner of Chambers Street and George IV Bridge.
  • Wheelchairs are available for loan at no charge whilst visiting the museum. They cannot be booked in advance, please ask about availability at the Information Desk on arrival. 
  • Small mobility scooters are permitted inside the museum.
  • Lifts are available to all floors and there is a variety of seating throughout the museum.
  • Accessible toilets are also available on most floors and there is a Changing Places (U) toilet in the Entrance Hall on Level 0. 
  • There is an induction loop at the museum Information Desk and in the Auditorium and Dunfermline Room lecture theatre.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome in the museum.

Our full access guide can be found on the AccessAble website and you can also find information on Euan's Guide

Download a map of the National Museum of Scotland or pick one up at our information desk when you arrive to see the exact locations of lifts and accessible toilets.

Relaxed Morning

Join us for our monthly Relaxed Morning for anyone who would appreciate a calmer visit to the museum. We plan to hold these sessions on the first Sunday of every month. Find out more information and details of our next Relaxed Morning.

Sensory Map

Download our map below to explore all the different sensory experiences in different parts of the museum. The video at the top of this page talks you through the Sensory Map in more detail.

Download our Sensory Map

Please note that some areas of the museum are currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Please visit the 'Plan your visit' page for the most up-to-date information and a general visitor’s map showing all open areas.

Accessible parking

There are four designated public parking spaces available for disabled visitors in Chambers Street. There is no charge for these spaces and they cannot be booked in advance.

Visually impaired and D/deaf visitors

To arrange a tour with audio description, handling opportunities or BSL interpretation, please email tours@nms.ac.uk or call 0131 247 4041, giving at least three weeks’ notice.

For audio descriptive or BSL tours of exhibitions, check our Exhibitions and Events calendar.

Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions our usual tours and resources are temporarily unavailable. We are working on alternative methods of support, so please check this page for updates.

Resources for autistic visitors

We have range of resources to support and welcome autistic visitors to the National Museum of Scotland.

Find out more about what we can offer to assist visitors with additional support needs.

BSL users

Deaf BSL (British Sign Language) users can make contact by using the free ContactSCOTLAND-BSL service.

Preparing for your visit

The museum has developed a general visual story featuring pictures of the museum and information about what to expect when you visit. The museum has two entrances, the tower entrance and the main entrance. There is a visual story for each entrance:

Tower Entrance Visual Story
Main Entrance Visual Story

You may wish to enter the museum via the Tower Entrance – this avoids the busy entrance hall by the main entrance and the need to go upstairs or use the lift to get into the main part of the museum. There is more information on our 'Plan your visit' page. 

We have created a sensory map, to show all the different sensory experiences in different parts of the museum. Download a sensory map to help you find the areas best suited to you.

Download our picture communication cards of some of the museum’s most popular objects. These include information about their location.

Sensory backpacks and resources

Sensory backpacks are available to borrow from the information desks at the Tower Entrance and the Main Entrance. These contain lots of sensory aids including ear defenders, torches, sunglasses and fidget toys. Adult-sized ear defenders are also available. 

Getting to the museum

Information about getting to the museum can be found here.
You may wish to enter the museum via the Tower Entrance. This avoids the busy entrance hall by the main entrance and the need to go upstairs or use the lift to get into the main part of the museum.

The Tower Entrance to the National Museum of Scotland

Is the museum noisy and busy?

It can get noisy and busy in the museum, however due to the Covid-19 situation we are finding the museum is generally a little quieter at the moment.

There are a number of exhibits that feature noises. Particular things to note include:

  • The Millennium Clock – this goes off on the hour (from 11am) and includes music, lights and moving parts.
  • The Ritchie clock in the Grand Gallery will make a sound every 15 minutes but it’s not too loud.
  • The hand dryers in the toilets are quite loud so please be aware if you are using these facilities.
  • The Performance and Lives gallery has musical instruments which can be played.
  • There are a number of audio-visual displays (videos) within the museum – the sensory map will highlight any galleries that are noisy or more likely to be busy.
  • In general, the Scottish galleries and the Art and Design galleries are calmer spaces.

Is there a place to go if I or someone I am visiting with is distressed?

If at any time you or someone you are visiting with finds the visit overwhelming, a member of staff can direct you to quieter areas in the museum. The sensory map also identifies the quieter spaces. During our Relaxed Mornings, a dedicated quiet space is made available. 

Who can I ask for help?

If you have any questions or problems during your visit, please speak to a member of our Visitor Experience team. They will be present throughout the galleries or at our information desks in the Entrance Hall, the Tower Entrance or outside the Level 3 Exhibition Gallery. The Visitor Experience team wear purple shirts and navy blazers.

Events

Alongside holding monthly relaxed mornings during regular opening times we also have a programme of relaxed early doors and after hour events, please see our events page for more information. 

Feedback and further information

We are always striving to improve the museum experience for autistic visitors and would welcome any feedback or queries you might have. Please contact us on communities@nms.ac.uk

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