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Percy Pilcher's Hawk glider

Pioneering Percy Pilcher could have been the first person ever to fly. But why did the glider he designed never take off?

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Jean Jenkins collection

Delve into the diverse collection of pioneering ethnomusicologist Jean Jenkins.

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Make your own Lewis chess piece

The Lewis chess pieces live in the National Museum of Scotland. Colour them in or cut out and make your own chess piece here.

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Victor Gama's instruments

These four unique instruments were specially created for Performance and Lives gallery at the National Museum of Scotland by internationally renowned composer and artist Victor Gama.

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Cybraphon

Meet Cybraphon, the moody autonomous robot band in a box created by Edinburgh-based artist collective FOUND.

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Ruston & Hornsby No.6 steam excavator

Discover the classic Ruston steam excavator, and find out how our conservation team restored it to its former glory.

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Chatty Café at the Museum

This event has been cancelled.

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Cockcroft-Walton generator

The Cockcroft-Walton generator was developed at the University of Cambridge in the early 1930s to accomplish the first artificial splitting of the atom.

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Museum Maker: Bird Safari

Head outdoors and see how many brilliant birds you can spot with the help of some bright binoculars! Learn how to make them here!

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The Lothian Birth Cohort

What is it like to hold your own brain? John Scott, a Lothian Birth Cohort participant, was lucky enough to find out

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Michael Eden's Portals

This contemporary piece by sculptor Michael Eden celebrates the architectural styles of the National Museum of Scotland.

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Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year 2009 Chapman Cheng tries out the Shetland fiddle.
Shetland fiddle

Discover how this traditional Scottish instrument was commissioned for the Performance and Lives gallery in the National Museum of Scotland.

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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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Screenshot from Discover Your Animal animation
Watch and listen

Explore the amazing collections of National Museums Scotland through films, animations and podcasts.

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Nature Track Packs

Explore more at the National Museum of Rural Life this summer with our new Nature Track Packs.

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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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Objects associated with Robert the Bruce

Robert I, also known as Robert Bruce, was king of Scots from 1306 to 1329. Follow his journey from coronation to grave through objects associated with this famous warrior.

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General self-led visit

A general self-led visit is free to book and allows you to explore a wide range of topics.

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Henrik Grönvold [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Giant ibis

Find out more about the only giant ibis skeleton owned by any museum in the world.

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Museum Make: Busy Blue Tit

Make your own bird spotting Blue Tit buddy with these instructions!

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Robots

Some robots have arrived at the Museum needing our help! But sometimes the best person to fix a robot... is another robot!

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Dunlop tyre

This revolutionary pneumatic tyre was donated to the museum by its maker, John Boyd Dunlop, in 1910. But who really invented it?

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Commercial aviation in the 20th century

Thursday 25 June 2020 marks the 65th anniversary of the first flight of the Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer. We mark this occasion with a look back at how commercial aviation has changed.

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Trails for the National Museum of Scotland

Explore the National Museum of Scotland with your class using our themed trails.

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Amateur Microscopists

In the early 18th century, natural history was an increasingly popular pastime and many people visited fields and ponds, often bringing a microscope, to investigate the flora and fauna.

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Living in Renaissance Scotland: the highs and lows

Join curator Anna Groundwater for a guided virtual tour of life in Renaissance Scotland at the National Museum of Scotland.

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Artworks by Danie Mellor

In 2013, National Museums Scotland acquired one metal sculpture and one work on paper by contemporary Australian artist Danie Mellor.

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Art of Glass on film

Preparing for the Art of Glass exhibition at National Museum of Scotland.

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Who was Robert Burns?

Discover the life of the National Bard through the collections of National Museums Scotland.

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Tour of the Ancient Egyptian Gallery

Join curator Margaret Maitland for a guided virtual tour of our Ancient Egypt Rediscovered gallery.

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The Concorde Experience

It's over 40 years since Scotland's Concorde took to the skies in the first BA Concorde fleet commercial passenger flight. Don't miss the chance to get up close to G-BOAA.

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Discovering Japan

From Samurai treasures to tiny netsuke, the National Museum of Scotland has the largest Japanese collection in Scotland.

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'Brave' film screening

Enjoy this 2012 Disney Pixar classic on the big screen and then go and explore our Scotland galleries with a specially themed trail.

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From minerals to your mobile

A huge range of different elements are used to make up the components of a mobile phone. But did you know that many of them can be found in minerals you can see on display at the National Museum of Scotland?

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Museum building at the National Museum of Rural Life © Wattie Cheung
Booking tickets

The National Museum of Rural Life is open and tickets are available to book online.

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Museum Maker: How to draw a King Penguin

Watch as artist Kayleigh McCallum shows you how to draw a King Penguin from our collection.

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Museum Maker: How to draw an Egyptian Coffin

Watch as artist Kayleigh McCallum shows you how to draw an Egyptian Coffin from our collection.

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Museum Maker: How to draw the Hunterston brooch

Watch as artist Kayleigh McCallum shows you how to draw the Hunterston Brooch from our collection.

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Museum Maker: Make a champion’s rosette

Summer is usually the season for gala days and rural shows, including our own Heavy Horse Show. Celebrate the champions you know – family, friends or even pets - by making them a personalised rosette!

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History of the collection

The story of how specimens make their way into a museum’s collection is often a peculiar one.

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Artist's concept of a fission surface power system on Mars.
Stirling Engine

A Stirling engine is powered by hot air rather than steam. Now 200 years old, its revolutionary technology has become even more relevant today.

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Foster stereo printing press model

This Victorian scale model of a printing press was made in the Museum's own workshop.

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Tyrannosaurus rex

Meet the 12 metre-long, spectacular life-sized skeleton cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the star attractions at the National Museum of Scotland.

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The Reid Family Christmas and New Year

The Wester Kittochside Farm at National Museum of Rural Life was owned and run by the Reid family for more than 400 years. Find out how the tenth laird and his family celebrated Christmas and New Year on the farm.

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GEN

GEN is an innovative strategy game where you can use biomedical objects from the museum collection to diagnose and treat a digital creature.

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