Skip Navigation or Skip to Content

For the questions you can't answer, we are here!

Ever been faced with a question, especially from children, that you just can’t answer? Plan a trip to the Museum and let us make finding the answers fun.

Where do astronauts go to the toilet?

Where do astronauts go to the toilet?

There are specially designed toilets on a spacecraft. The toilet works like a vacuum cleaner by sucking the waste away into a sealed unit so nothing floats away due to zero gravity.

80% of the urine produced is treated on board and recycled into drinking water, as astronaut Tim Peake explains.

Reach for the stars

If you’re interested in space, look out for the Rocket in the Window on the World gallery, grab a spacesuit selfie in the Explore gallery and see the Scottish flag that’s been into space. There's also our Space Quest Trail!

Were hieroglyphs the first emojis?

Were hieroglyphs the first emojis?

No. Though hieroglyphs may appear to be simple symbols, like emojis, they are actually part of a very sophisticated writing system.

Anything we can write in our language, the ancient Egyptians could write in hieroglyphs – everything from tax decrees to love poems!

Discover Ancient Egypt

If you’re interested in Egypt, take a look at our Ancient Egypt Rediscovered gallery.

Learn more about ancient Egyptian writing and see a rare cast of the Rosetta stone which helped Egyptologists to decipher this amazing language.

You can also try your hand at the hieroglyph name game, plus, you’ll discover more than 4,000 years of ancient Egyptian history.

Need answers? We got 'em

We’ve pulled together some of the questions that children have asked us. The National Museum of Scotland can keep even the most enquiring minds busy all day, every day, and it's free!

Plan your visit

Why did Mary, Queen of Scots get her head chopped off?

Why did Mary, Queen of Scots get her head chopped off?

After being held prisoner for 18 years, Mary, Queen of Scots was executed by the English in 1587 because she was a threat to her cousin Elizabeth I.

Mary had a claim to the English crown and was involved in a plot to remove Elizabeth and become queen of England herself. She was also a Catholic and this was felt to threaten the Protestant Reformation in England.

Get acquainted with royalty

If you’re interested in Mary, Queen of Scots and Scottish history, visit Kingdom of the Scots where you'll find some of Mary’s exquisite jewellery and a cast of her tomb.

Explore the rest of our Scottish Galleries to discover the story of Scotland from its geological beginnings to the present day.

How loud is a lion's roar?

How loud is a lion's roar?

A lion's roar can reach 114 decibels, which is as loud as a rock concert. The loudest animal in the world is the sperm whale, which makes a series of clicking noises that can reach as high as 230 decibels.

Explore the natural world

If you’re interested in wildlife, take a look at our Natural World galleries where you'll meet our own family of lions as well as find out more about how animals communicate and hear in Animal Senses. Visit the museum’s Grand Gallery to see the skull of 40-foot sperm whale Moby.

How did they get through doors?

How did they get through doors?

Incredible dresses like this were worn only for very special occasions at royal palaces - where the doorways were very wide. The bigger problem was learning to dance in the dress, and fitting it into your carriage on the way to the palace.

The extravagant widths of these skirts were designed to show off the wealth and status of the wearer - so they proved you were worthy of an invite to the ball!

Explore style through the ages

If you’re interested in fashion, take a look at our Art, Design & Fashion galleries where you'll see the amazing Mantua dress in all its gold threaded splendour.

Why are they called mummies?

Mummification in ancient Egypt was a way of preserving the body forever. The body was really important, as it was the home of a part of your spirit at night. The term "Mummy" comes from Arabic and Latin translations of a Persian word meaning an embalming substance.

Today we try not to use the term "mummy" and prefer to use the name of the person. If we don’t know their name we say "mummified man/woman/child". This helps us to remember that they are a person and not an object.              

Discover ancient Egypt

If you’re interested in Egypt, take a look at our Ancient Egypt Rediscovered gallery. Learn more about ancient Egyptian burial over 4000 years of Egyptian history. Find out about the challenges that come after death through our journey to the afterlife game.

National Museum of Scotland

Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF
Tel: 0300 123 6789

Admission

Free entry

Opening times

Museum open
Open daily, 10:00 - 17:00

Visiting with children?

Check out our top suggestions for families.

Family Galleries
Back to top