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National Museums Scotland launches major international touring programme

Monday 10 April, 2017

For the first time, National Museums Scotland will tour its collections abroad as part of a major new touring exhibitions programme.

The inaugural international tour will feature the natural science exhibition, Monkeys! A Primate Story, and is set to tour from autumn 2017. The tour includes venues in Belgium, Australia and Spain. The exhibition, currently running at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh where it is entitled Monkey Business, is proving to be hugely popular with family audiences.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland, said:

“This launch strengthens our approach to working internationally to engage and inspire audiences beyond our walls with the riches of Scotland’s national collections. We have been lending material from our collections for many years and I am delighted that our exhibitions will now tour internationally for the first time, playing their part in promoting Scotland on the world stage.”

National Museums Scotland cares for vast, multi-disciplinary collections that have been developed over more than two centuries. Its collections comprise over 12 million objects and specimens and are of international significance in their calibre, scope and reach. They illustrate the richness of arts, culture, the natural world, and achievements in applied science across the globe.

The collections provide an outstanding resource for creating world-class exhibitions on a wide variety of subject matters, which regularly provide visitors with access to powerful objects, unique experiences and the latest academic research. 

Monkeys! A Primate Story is a major, family-friendly exhibition which explores the world of primates, from the tiny mouse lemur to the mighty gorilla. It features 60 spectacular new taxidermy specimens created by National Museums Scotland specialists, and skeletons of monkeys, apes, lemurs and bushbabies alongside a host of interactives, film, models and photography. Visitors can discover how different primates move and communicate, how they’ve developed tools to get hold of food and their complex social systems. It also examines the relationship between humans and primates, including the ways in which many species are threatened with extinction through the impact of habitat loss and hunting.

Monkeys! A Primate Story touring schedule

 Currently the Monkeys! exhibition will tour to the following international venues with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences being the first venue of the tour: 

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels

October 2017 – August 2018

Queensland Museum, Brisbane

October 2018 – January 2019

Natural Science Museum of Barcelona, Barcelona

October 2019 - April 2020


For further information and images please contact Susan Gray, Press Office, National Museums Scotland, tel 0131 247 4088,

 Louise Collins, Sutton, on +44 207 183 3577 or

Notes to Editors

National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display.

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