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Grand Gallery, Discoveries and Window on the World

Your journey from Scotland to the world begins in the Grand Gallery, one of Scotland's most beautiful spaces.

With its soaring pillars and high windows, the light-filled atrium of the Grand Gallery is one of Scotland’s most beautiful spaces, and provides a spectacular start to your museum visit. Your journey from Scotland to the world begins here.

The dramatic objects on display – from a huge 12-foot long South Pacific feast bowl to a 19th-century lighthouse lens – provide a vivid introduction to the National Museum of Scotland and the rich and diverse collection housed here.

A view of the west side of the Grand Gallery.

Window on the World

Rising up through the four storeys, the Window on the World is the largest single museum installation in the UK. The display celebrates the variety and scope of the Museum, showcasing a spectacular array of over 800 objects drawn from a wide range of cultures and disciplines, from tiny glass sculptures to a girder from the original Tay Bridge, whalebone scrimshaw to Art Nouveau design.

Window on the World.

Walk through the Grand Gallery and you’ll find the extraordinary Millennium clock, which comes to life on the hour with whirling figures, stirring music and dancing lights.

The Millennium Clock just off the Grand Gallery.


Beyond lies Discoveries. Here you’ll meet the Scots whose ideas, innovations and leadership took them across the world. Inventors, diplomats, military leaders, adventurers or the celebrities of their time: intriguing objects reveal the stories of their lives and achievements. From the coffin of an Egyptian priest to a vast limestone mural from the palace of an Assyrian king, the oldest surviving colour television to a specimen of penicillin inscribed by Alexander Fleming, the displays recognise the enormous impact of Scots around the world.

Iufenuman in the Discoveries gallery

Iufenuman the mummy priest in the Discoveries gallery.

Art of Ceramics

Situated next to the Balcony Café, this gallery offers a fascinating insight into the breadth of our outstanding ceramic collections, celebrating the creativity that is reflected in pieces from around the world. As well as celebrating the decorative arts, the gallery explores the use of ceramics in scientific and technological applications, and shows how this material has been a key component in global trade and cultural exchange for millennia.

The Art of Ceramics gallery. Photo © Andy Catlin.

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