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Museum Art Challenge 2020

What inspires you in our museums? Get creative and join our month-long online art challenge at National Museums Scotland!

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Members’ Spotlight: Behind the Scenes at the Collection Centre

Go behind the scenes with us and journey through time via our rich and diverse collections.

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Contemporary collecting

Contemporary collecting has been core to the development of the National Collections over the last two centuries.

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Global Arts, Cultures and Design department

Our Global Arts, Cultures and Design collections include internationally important material from across the world.

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Elements: Earth

Investigate different aspects of life on Earth, through fascinating fossils, tools for turning the soil and pieces of art reflecting the devastating effects of pollution on our planet.

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For Teachers: Ten Minute Activities

Use one of our ten-minute activities with your class today, with suggestions for how you can extend.

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Staff Picks Trail

Be inspired by our staff favourites from our collections on display on Level 1, or try and find them all on your next visit.

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Oracle Bones

Oracle bones are parts of animal bone, used in divination ceremonies in ancient China. National Museums Scotland’s collection of oracle bones dates from the late Shang dynasty (c.1200–1050 BC) and was found at Yinxu site near Anyang city, in central China.

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Weaving loom collected by David Livingstone

A weaving loom collected by David Livingstone among the Mang’anja people in Mozambique or Malawi reveals fascinating links between past and present.

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The Galloway Hoard pectoral cross

The discovery of a well-preserved pectoral cross placed near the top of the Galloway Hoard was the first sign this was an extraordinary assemblage.

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Things to see and do

Discover the story of Scotland at war within the walls of Edinburgh Castle.

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The Corryvrechan Tapestry

Designed by Kate Whiteford, the title of the work refers to the notorious whirlpool to the north of the island of Jura and draws on the artists's fascination with signs and symbols of ancient civilisations.

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Romans in Scotland: major archaeological sites

Archaeological finds from Rome's invasions of Scotland can be found throughout the country, from the Solway Firth to Moray. Three of the most prominent sites are Trimontium, Traprain Law, and the Antonine Wall.

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Amethyst geode

This huge amethyst geode formed over 130 million years ago in lava during a period of volcanic activity.

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African dolls

These multi-coloured plastic dolls, western in their appearance, are very popular in Africa today.

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Second World War: Technology

Changing technology played a vital role in the Second World War. Major advances in communications, weaponry and medicine came about as a direct result of the conflict.

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Workflow and preparation

Gain tips on how to plan a shoot and improve productivity

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Collecting the Present

National Museums Scotland is collecting history as it happens. Our new film series, Collecting the Present, explores objects we have collected recently that document cultural, political and social change in Scotland.

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The Waste of Daylight

In 1907 the builder William Willett wrote a pamphlet called The Waste of Daylight, campaigning for Daylight Saving in the UK. 9 years later, in 1916, this came into effect in UK law and effectively changed how we experience the passing seasons. Read on to find out more about Daylight Saving is and why Willett wanted it implemented...

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SPNHC Conference 2022

This joint meeting will take place from 5—10 June 2022 in Edinburgh.

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Natural Sciences department

Our Natural Sciences collections cover both life sciences and earth sciences.

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Detail from a jet engine on display at the National Museum of Flight.
Behind the Scenes Tours

Find out about our collection of aero-engines and propellers on a curator-led tour of our Object Store.

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Meissen lion

The Meissen lion is part of the animal menagerie commissioned by Augustus II the Strong in the early 18th century.

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CryoArks: Animal biobanking for research and conservation 

Learn how museums and zoos are helping to conserve endangered species through CryoArks – the UK’s national bank of frozen animal material.

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Highland Style: tartan trends in Georgian Britain

Discover how Highland dress was adapted in the Georgian period into the iconic and fashionable symbol of Scotland we know today.

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Cloud cabinet

This magnificent maple cabinet was designed by Edward William Godwin and painted by the renowned artist, James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

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Alexander Dalrymple's portrait

Scottish-born Alexander Dalrymple was a significant figure in Britain’s maritime history.

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Kwakwaka’wakw masks from the Northwest Coast

Contemporary objects created by Indigenous people are helping us to grow our understanding of other cultures and build stronger links with communities around the world.

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Build a story at the museum with Scottish Book Trust

Museums are great places to uncover stories. Build your own story, inspired by our amazing objects.

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Robert Burns on film

Celebrate the life and legacy of Robert Burns in a series of films focussing on key objects associated with the bard.

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Become a Member

Help protect remarkable objects and be the first to hear about the stories they hold.

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Biobanks: storing animal samples for research and conservation

Explore how CryoArks biobanks store samples from animals so that researchers can look at their genetic code.

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Victorian photographic techniques

Discover how Victorian inventors and entrepreneurs succeeded in capturing the very first images.

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Moby the whale

Discover how the skull of a 40ft whale, which captured the heart of the nation, has become a permanent feature at the National Museum of Scotland.

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For Teachers: Secondary Resources

Explore a range of activities suitable for pupils working at Third and Fourth Levels and Senior Phase including the First World War, Parasites and Fashion.

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