Investigate communications, transport, industry, engineering, energy and medicine and learn how scientific and technological inventions have changed our lives.

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.

Join us for our exciting programme of daily guided themed tours, or book a private tour as an individual or group. Choose from the Science and Technology themes below. Contact for further information and a tour request form.

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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and Window on the World.

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 and00 Technology, Making it.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

A fun and reminiscent tour looking at familiar objects from 1930s to 2005, such as the red telephone box, TRIM phone, Dansette Record Player, Commodore PET computer, Go-Go boots and Morris Minor Mini.

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

Explore more

Science and Technology galleries

Communications, transport, industry, engineering, energy and medicine: how have scientific and technological inventions changed our lives? Explore the history of innovation in Scotland and across the world through interactive games and thought-provoking displays.

Art and Science galleries

Ten galleries. Infinite possibilities. From Alexander Graham Bell to Zandra Rhodes, this year we're showcasing the very best of our internationally important collections in decorative art, design, fashion, science and technology.
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 3 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. Find out more about themed tours in January.

Back to top