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Two visitors wearing pasks look up at a variety of different animals and animal skeletons on display in the Animal World gallery.

Top 10 things to see and do

Your journey of discovery starts here...

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. 

A family stand in the large open space of the Grand Gallery looking at a Buddha statue. They are all wearing masks.

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

A visitor wearing a mask looks at a replica Mary Queen of Scots' tomb in the foreground. It is a statue of the queen lying down with her hands folded in prayer.

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. 

A family look at a life-sized pride of taxidermied lions in the Animal World gallery.

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. Relax and refuel

Grab lunch or a snack at our Balcony Café (Level 3) with a great view over the Grand Gallery. Great for all the family with freshly prepared soups, sandwiches and salads, children’s lunch boxes and some fine home baking.

Photo of a cupcake on a plate.


7.  Check out our mini museum

Explore the museum in miniature created by brick artist Warren Elsmore. From the imposing Victorian façade to the spectacular Grand Gallery, this Lego brick model perfectly recreates the museum. 

Detail of the National Museum of Scotland model made out of LEGO® bricks built by Warren Elsmore and team.

A lego brick model of the grand gallery of the museum with lego minifigure visitors.

8. Travel around the world without leaving Scotland

A colourful mask of many blue faces painted with exaggerated eyebrows, teeth, and moustaches under a sparkling headdress of pink, red, blue, pearl, and gold.

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.

Various ceramic plates and jugs in a glass case.

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 Explore 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.

Dolly the sheep (stuffed) in a glass case.

Dolly the sheep on display in the Explore gallery.

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