Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at National Museums Scotland?

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Go behind the scenes on a tour of our state-of-the-art collections research centre in Granton, Edinburgh.

On this guided tour you’ll see how we access, research and prepare collections not on display, meeting specialists from our curatorial and collections care teams to learn more about how we look after our internationally important collections.

Part of Edinburgh Doors Open Day, organised by The Cockburn Association.

Two tours are available:

  • 10:00 – 11:15
  • 11:45 – 13:00

Tour content will vary, with different collection areas being showcased. However, the below will give you a flavour of what to expect.

Natural Sciences

From fossils and rocks millions of years old to extinct or endangered animals and meteorites from outer space, our 10 million natural sciences objects and specimens help us understand the world around us.

Our zoology collection documents the incredible diversity of life on earth, from minuscule insects to mighty whales, and charts the evolution of life through ever-changing habitats. Comprising nearly two million specimens, our entomology collection is over 150 years in the making and contains material from all over the world. Our fossil fish and early tetrapod collections are among the largest and most diverse in the world.

Science and Technology

Communications, transport, industry, engineering, energy and medicine: how have scientific and technological inventions changed our lives? Our collection is one of the most important collections of scientific and technological material in Britain, documenting innovation in Scotland and the wider world.

Art, Design and Fashion

Our Art, Design and Fashion collections concentrate on fine examples of applied art, chronicling centuries of creativity and innovation. They allow us to explore the influence of design on everyday life and see how contemporary makers continue to innovate.

Scottish History and Archaeology

Our archaeological and Scottish collections encompass Scotland’s history from the earliest times to the present day.

Our Early Prehistory collections encompass Europe north of the Alps and span at least 50,000 years, ranging from the Palaeolithic to the end of the Bronze Age. Iron Age, Roman and Early Historic collections cover the period from c.800BC – AD1100, the formative centuries of Scotland as a nation.

From life at war to the story of Scottish emigration, the Union of the Parliaments to Devolution, our Scottish history collection is the largest of its kind anywhere, and provides a comprehensive record of the life, times and achievements of the people of Scotland at home and abroad.

Getting to the Collection Centre 

  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your tour is scheduled to start and report to Reception at the Gatehouse building on the right-hand side of the entrance barrier.

  • There is no visitor parking available but there is on-street parking within the vicinity. Further information on parking can be found at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/parking.

  • A number of parking spaces are available for Blue Badge holders and we can also accommodate bicycles. To book a Blue Badge parking space or discuss any access requirements, please contact Lee McCulley, Learning Officer (Adults) on 0131 247 4439 or l.mcculley@nms.ac.uk.

  • A number of buses run to NMCC from various parts of Edinburgh, including the 8 and 16 Lothian Bus services. More details can be found on www.lothianbuses.com.

Event information


29 Sep 2018
10:00 – 11:15 and 11:45 – 13:00


National Museums Collection Centre, 242 West Granton Road, Granton, Edinburgh, EH5 1JA

How much

Age 14+


Please be aware that booking is essential and entry is by ticket only.

Booking information

This event is now sold out.

Please note that photography is prohibited unless your tour guide advises.

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