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Science and Technology themed tours

Investigate communications, transport, industry, engineering, energy and medicine.

Tour Cancellation: 

Please note - Volunteer Guide led tours at the National Museum of Scotland have been cancelled until further notice. Please contact if you have any questions.

Explore the history of innovation in Scotland and across the world through thought-provoking stories, objects and displays. Look at early scientific instruments, explore scientific discoveries and meet scientific pioneers.

Science and Technology tours

Buttons and Zips: The Technology of Fashion

Investigate the influence of technology on fashion, synthetic fabrics and dyes. Explore the impact of traditional and modern methods of textile production, including computer design, 3D printing and what impact industrial revolution had.

Galleries: Fashion and Style, Grand Gallery, Science and Technology, Making It

Energy: Where it comes from and how we use it

This tour will explore the idea of energy conversion, for example that in a steam engine the fuel creates heat, which creates movement. Objects covered will range from conversion machines, to power stations and energy sources. 

Galleries: Transport, Energise

Made in Scotland by Man and Machine

This tour explores the development of 18th-century cottage industry through to the mechanisation of manufacturing, looking at machine power, machine control and machine intelligence. Objects included range from a Jacquard loom to our bicycle collection.

Galleries: Discoveries, Making It

Man, the Sun and the Stars

Discover early instruments of navigation and time measurement and modern telescopes; learn more about the stars, planet formation and meteorites and explore the origins of life.

Galleries: Earth in Space, Animal World

Scottish Science and Technology

Discover the breadth and depth of Scotland's contribution to science and technology from the 18th century to the present day, including inventions by James Watt and the Lighthouse Stevensons.

Galleries: Grand Gallery, Explore, Industry and Empire, Enquire, Scotland Transformed

Steam Engines

Explore the invention and development of steam engines, including the Newcomen engine and Wylam Dilly, and learn more about how they work.

Galleries: Scotland Transformed, Industry and Empire, Window on the World

Telling the Time

Take a trip through time, from sundials and early clocks to electric and speaking clocks. 

Galleries: Earth in Space, Level 3 balcony, Scotland Transformed

Writing and Communication through the Ages

Starting with ancient scripts, the tour includes those used in Scotland and finishes with message transcription in the 19th and 20th centuries with telegraphs and Enigma encoding machines.

Galleries: Discoveries, East Asia, Egypt, Early People, Kingdom of the Scots and Explore.

Book a tour

Private booked tours for individuals and groups

All our tours are available as private, booked tours.

The cost of a private, booked tour is £5.00 per person (we make a minimum charge of £50.00 per guided group). One guide is allocated to every 15 people.

Tours are subject to guide availability and a minimum of three weeks’ notice is requested. Please contact for further information and tour request form.

Daily themed tour

Times: 15:00 (1 hr)
Cost: Free

Join us for our exciting programme of tours with a different theme each day. Meet at the Tour Meeting Point, Entrance Hall, Level 0.

Header image: Accelerating cavity from CERN's Large Electron Positron collider (LEP), operational from 1989 to 2000. Donation by CERN. Image © Ruth Armstrong Photography.

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