Explore over 400 years of conflict through a unique collection of military objects, artwork and personal stories.
A Nation in Arms
Discover how conflicts at home and abroad have shaped Scotland's image and reputation over the centuries. Like any other nation, Scotland’s military history has been shaped by its terrain and its position on the map. This gallery explores how the division between Highland and Lowland, a long coastline, and access to important sea routes have influenced Scotland’s strategic importance. Discover more about the relationship with Scotland’s powerful neighbour, England, and the opportunity that the army represented for ordinary Scots.
Above: Scottish Royal Standard flown in the defence of Crete, 1941.
Take time to watch our short film, which creates the context for the rest of your visit. Explore highlights of our collection that introduce the major themes of the museum, and uncover the stories of some key figures in Scottish military history.
Above: Pistol taken from a German spy arrested at Waverley station in 1940, on display in Active Service gallery.
A Grand Life for a Scotsman
There is a long history of Scots serving in the British armed forces. Why did thousands of individual Scots willingly spend much of their lives as sailors, soldiers or airmen? What motivated them to join up and how did military service affect them?