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Schools visits to the National Museum of Scotland

The natural world, world cultures, science, technology, design, art and fashion, archaeology and Scottish history – whatever your topic, come on a visit to find out more.
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About a general self-led visit

A general self-led visit is free to book and allows your class to explore wide range of topics. Click the link below to find out more.

General self-led visit
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About a supported self-led visit

Bring your class topic to life with a visit to the National Museum of Scotland. Our supported self-led visits provide pre-visit advice and support from a dedicated member of our learning team. Upon arrival, your class will receive an introduction with a hands-on element, clipboards and pencils to use throughout your visit and pre-printed copies of a trail of your choice.



Please note, these sessions are fully booked until June 2022.

Supported self-led visits
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About a self-led handling box

Containing real and replica objects as well as a range of suggested activities, self-led handling boxes can be tailored by teachers to suit the learning intentions of their class.

Self-led handling boxes

Request a visit to the National Museum of Scotland

Submit an enquiry about a schools visit.

Request a schools visit

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

Top tips for visiting National Museum of Scotland

Before you visit

Plan your visit in class using our visual story PowerPoints, or using Google Streetview. We have maps to help you plan your visit, including a Sensory Map.

Supervision

Pupils need to be supervised at all times when visiting the museum. We recommend splitting your class into small groups and choosing a visible meeting point, like the Lighthouse Lens in the Grand Gallery.

Don't miss

The Millennium Clock, just off the Grand Gallery, has music and a moving figures display just after the hour – don’t miss seeing it as part of your visit.

Resources

A range of different resources are available to use with your pupils to give  focus to your day, on topics such as ancient Egypt, Art and Design, Romans, Careers and Dinosaurs.

Preparing for your visit

What options are available for a visit?

Schools can book to visit the museum as a general visit, free of charge or book to use one of our handling boxes in our learning studios or a supported self-led visit for £25. To request a visit, please complete the booking enquiry form. 

What can my class see and do?

There is so much to see and do your class can plan to spend a full day visiting the National Museum of Scotland:

How can I prepare my class for the visit?

Prepare your class for a visit by using our visual story PowerPoints in class:

You can also find out more about the ASN resources available for your visit.

The video below shows a school visit to National Museum of Scotland. We suggest you also read the general visit page for more information. You can also book a pre-visit to help you plan the day.

Do I need to book in advance?

To ensure your visit runs smoothly, all school visits to the National Museum of Scotland must be booked in advance. Please complete the booking request form.

How much does a visit cost? 

Pre-booked general school visits and downloadable resources are free of charge. 

All other events, activities and workshops have a cost which is detailed on the booking form and relevant pages.

Your school will be invoiced after your visit. 

Please check visit type information pages for our Terms & Conditions and Cancellation policies. 

Do you offer travel subsidies?

National Museums Scotland does not currently offer travel subsidies.  Local schools can purchase a school class bus ticket allowing up to 33 children plus 4 adults a single journey on Lothian bus services (excluding the airport zone) for £20.00.  This ticket can be purchased in advance by contacting Lothian on 0131 556 2244.

Do you run sessions or activities for pupils?

We currently offer a range of self-led and supported visits. All those currently available are listed at the top of this page. 

When should we arrive?

Please arrive at the time stated on your booking. This is to stagger groups arriving in our Entrance Hall (Level 0, Chambers St entrance) to allow for social distancing.

Can I download resources for my visit?

We have a range of resources available to use in both the classroom and museum. You can find them in the Learning resources section.

We also have topic specific trails to help guide your class through the museum which you can download in advance. 

What measures are in place to ensure a safe visit?

A range of safety measures have been put in place in line with Scottish Government guidelines.  This includes face coverings, enhanced cleaning, sneeze screens and hand sanitising stations throughout the museum.  Please read our guidance before visiting with your group. 

We ask that you: 

  • Keep your distance from others. 
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided and wash your hands often. 
  • Face coverings are encouraged for visitors aged 12 and over.

If a member of your group begins to display COVID-19 symptoms whilst in the museum, please alert the nearest member of the Visitor Experience team (dressed in navy/purple) immediately. 

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During your visit

Is there parking for our bus or minibus?

There is a coach drop-off point outside the museum on Chambers Street.

Where can we leave our bags and coats?

  • Booked groups are allocated a storage tub in our school’s cloakroom for coats, and packed lunches. Please encourage pupils to bring with them only what they will need for the day.

  • The tubs have lids, but are not lockable. Please note that the tubs are not located in a secure area. Belongings are left at the owner’s risk.

  • Space is limited and we are unable to store large rucksacks or suitcases.

  • Please note that bags can only be stored in the cloakroom while you are on the premises

Where can we eat our lunch?

Where can we eat?

  • School groups can eat in the Museum lunchroom. This is the only designated space for group lunches in the Museum, and must be pre-booked. Your 30 minutes lunch time slot is included in your booking information.

  • The packed lunch space will be very busy during your visit. Please help us to keep it running smoothly by sticking to your booked 30-minute time slot(s), sharing tables with other schools, and tidying up after your group.

 

Is the space we'll be visiting fully accessible?

The Learning Centre and galleries are fully accessible via lifts and we have accessible toilets on all levels. There is a Changing Places (U) toilet in the Entrance Hall on Level 0. 

Please read our information for visitors with access needs. 

Can I take photographs?

We are happy for you to take photographs, including flash photography, in the general museum. Photography is not permitted in special exhibitions, unless otherwise stated. If you wish to take a photo of a member of museum staff, please ask their permission before doing so.  

In addition, we may also wish to take photographs of you and your group. We will always discuss with you in advance and will supply a photography permission form for you and your class to be completed prior to visiting. 

Is there a shop/café?

There is a Museum Shop in the Entrance Hall, Level 0 (please ensure there is a ratio of 1 adult to 10 children when in shop). 

There is a café on the Level 3 balcony, overlooking the Grand Gallery. Take-away tea/coffee/liquids are not permitted in the museum.  

Do you have visit/safety guidelines?

We ask that pupils visiting in school groups are accompanied at all times during their visit at a ratio of: 

1 adult: 5 pupils (under the age of 5) 

1 adult: 10 pupils (primary school pupils) 

1 adult: 15 pupils (secondary school pupils) 

Where pupils require support on a 1:1 ratio, this adult should be included over and above these ratios. 

Ensure everyone attending, including adults, are aware of our Visit Guidelines. These guidelines include details of the COVID safety measures we have in place. Please also read our general visit guidance ahead of your visit.  Please be aware that all our bookings will comply with Scottish Government guidelines and NHS Scotland Test and Protect. 

In addition, please read and follow any safety notices and instructions from Visitor Experience staff during your visit.

Risk assessments

You can download our guidelines for teachers to help you write your own risk assessment. Teachers can make a free pre-visit to carry out their own risk assessment. 

Do you have behaviour guidelines?

We have developed an agreement which sets out what we aim to offer during your visit, and in return what we ask from you. We ask that pupils visiting in school groups are accompanied at all times during their visit at a ratio of: 

1 adult: 5 pupils (under the age of 5) 

1 adult: 10 pupils (primary school pupils) 

1 adult: 15 pupils (secondary school pupils) 

Where pupils require support on a 1:1 ratio, this adult should be included over and above these ratios. 

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Visiting with ASN pupils

We're committed to encouraging all pupils to enjoy our museums. We have a range of initiatives to support and welcome pupils with additional support needs to the National Museum of Scotland.

Find out about the resources available

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