Top 10 things to see and do

Your journey of discovery starts here...

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Please book a free timed entry ticket online in advance of your visit to ensure that we can manage numbers and maintain physical distancing. This includes National Museums Scotland Members.

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1. Visit the Grand Gallery

The  Grand Gallery is one of Scotland’s most beautiful spaces and provides a spectacular start to your museum visit. Take a photo with the noble Giant Deer skeleton, say hello to the massive skull of Moby the whale  and marvel at  machinery used to smash atoms. 

2. Travel back in time through Scottish history

Our Scottish galleries guide you from prehistoric times to the present day. Discover a treasure trove of Celtic, Roman and Viking artefacts, including the famous Lewis chess pieces – as seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone!

The famous Lewis chess pieces.

3. Mingle with royalty 

Mary, Queen of Scots is Scotland's most controversial monarch. Discover her tumultuous story and see belongings associated with her in Kingdom of the Scots, Level 1

Looking at the objects associated with Mary, Queen of Scots at National Museum of Scotland.

4. Take a walk on the wild side

Get up close with creatures from different habitats in Animal World From cooler climes meet a polar bear and Arctic fox, from Africa get acquainted with a family of lions and stretch your neck to see our giraffe and go back in time to walk in the shadow of a giant T.rex skeleton cast. 

Getting acquainted with the pride of lions in Animal World on Level 1.

5. Strike a pose in the Fashion and Style gallery

Explore centuries of creativity and innovation in the Fashion and Style gallery. Spot gems by Alexander McQueen, Zandra Rhodes, Jean Muir and Pringle of Scotland, and see unusual twists on classic tartan by Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier. 

Looking at the catwalk in the Fashion and Style gallery.

6. Hop over to Hawthornden Court

Discover untold stories from items in our collection from new research and scientific analysis conservation. Unearth the untold stories behind 5,000-year-old Neolithic carved stone balls, Bronze Age metalworking, a Roman burial urn, an 18th century drinking club set, and a contemporary crockery set made for the Empire Café at 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. 

Looking at the Empire Cafe crockery set in Hawthornden Court.

7. See how the landscape shapes lives

In Living Lands, explore how the landscape influences the way people live their lives and what they believe through objects by made indigenous peoples, from the North American Arctic to the deserts of Australia. 

Living Lands gallery on Level 1, just off the Grand Gallery.

8. Travel around the world without leaving Scotland

Mask of Ravenna in the Performance and Lives gallery.

Explore the dynamic interaction between people and their possessions in Patterns of Life, discover the cultural diversity of this Pacific Islanders’ and in Facing the Sea learn how Pacific Islanders’ lives are framed by their relationships with the sea, and celebrate the diversity of music, dance and costume around the world in Performance and Lives.

Discovering Ancient Egypt Rediscovered on Level 5.

9. Discover Ancient Egypt, East Asia and Ceramics

Head up to Level 5 to the Ancient Egypt Rediscovered gallery which presents the remarkable culture and achievements of the ancient Egyptians, highlighting individual stories to give a sense of their values and personal lives. Next door you'll find Exploring East Asia gallery with a unique perspective on East Asia, enabling visitors to explore and contrast the diverse traditions, peoples, and histories of these three fascinating and dynamic cultures.

Art of Ceramics gallery on Level 3..

Discover different examples one of the earliest man-made materials in our Art of Ceramics gallery on Level 3. See everything from an 18th century Meissen dish, a highly decorative ancient Greek pottery, an earthenware figure by contemporary Dundee artist Stephen Bird, a Persian 13th century bowl and a nose cone from a British Aerospace Skyflash air-to-air missile!

10. Take a selfie with a celebrity

Did you know the Grand Gallery is home to a famous celebrity? As the first cloned mammal ever to be created from an adult cell, Dolly is the most famous sheep in the world.

Meeting the famous Dolly the sheep in the Grand Gallery.

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