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Newcomen atmospheric engine

Visitors to the Scotland Transformed gallery at National Museum of Scotland cannot miss the mighty Newcomen engine.

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National projects

We are always working with other Scottish museums on partnership projects that can raise the profile of long-term preservation and engagement with collections nationally.

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Closing Romer's Gap: The story so far

If the first four-legged animals had never emerged from water onto land, our world today would not exist. Yet how did this great step happen? The mystery is finally being solved – and fossils discovered in Scotland lie at the heart of the story.

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Job vacancies at National Museums Scotland Enterprises Ltd

Find out more about working with our Publishing, Retail and Hospitality & Events teams within National Museums Scotland Enterprises Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of National Museums Scotland that supports our work.

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A Vintage VE Day

Step back in time and experience life in wartime Britain to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

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Fossil Hunters

This touring exhibition explored how life on earth moved from water onto land 360-345 million years ago. The tour has now ended.

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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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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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Top things to see and do

Make the most of your visit with our museum highlights. Your rural adventure starts here!

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General visit to the museum (S1-6)

You can book to visit the museum free of charge with your classes. 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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General visit to the museum (Nurs-P7)

You can book to visit the museum free of charge with your classes. 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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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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A Legacy in Fossils

New publication celebrates the life of Scottish fossil collector Stan Wood and his remarkable discoveries.

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Professor Matthew Heddle biography

Heddle was a larger than life character, a renowned academic and one of Scotland's most famous mineralogists.

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Deskford carnyx

Uncover the history of this iconic Celtic trumpet, and find out how it has been reconstructed to bring the music of the past to life.

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Gifts for a Jacobite Prince

This touring display of a unique sword and targe from the collections of National Museums Scotland visited Perth Museum and Art Gallery and Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.

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Jain painting

Discover how this stunning, detailed wall hanging was brought back to life by our Textile Conservation team.

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Spotlight On: Our Seas

Curator Fiona Ware and Dr Dan Harries from Heriot-Watt’s Institute of Life & Earth Sciences introduce some of Scotland’s finest marine habitats and discuss the importance of the museum’s specimen collections to monitoring changes in our seas.

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Ancient Egypt handling box (P1-7)

Classes can discover more about life and death in ancient Egypt by booking our handling box. The box is split into four themes: Life, Mummification, Afterlife and Egyptology.

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Museum trails

Explore the museum collections and historic airfield with our family trails.

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Museum Moves: Family Yoga

Use these seven yoga based poses to move, stretch and get energised, inspired by our collections. You can do each one on its own or all seven together in a 'yoga flow'.

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Leave a gift in your will and help our stories live on

Each object in our collection has a story to tell. Your gift, no matter how small or large, will ensure they are told for generations to come.

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Carved oak doors associated with Mary of Guise

When medieval buildings in Blyth’s Close off Edinburgh’s Castlehill were demolished, these pieces - associated with Mary of Guise - were rescued.

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About us

We care for museum collections of national and international importance, presenting and interpreting them for a broad audience. Discover the diversity of all we do here.

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Qurna burial

In 1908, an undisturbed ancient Egyptian burial was discovered by Flinders Petrie in Qurna Thebes.

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Biodiversity: Life In Scotland

Learn about four different ecosystems in Scotland through objects, games and microscopic imagery. Perfect to support your work around COP26, our accompanying resources will allow your class to study biodiversity across Scotland.

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Become a Member

Members receive free access to the National Museum of Rural Life and special events throughout the year, and generous discounts in our shop and café.

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Missionaries and Tibetan material culture

Explore how missionaries made a significant impact on gathering the materials featured within the Tibetan collections at the National Museum of Scotland, with their materials peaking between 1890-1904.

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Sir James Black's Nobel Prize medal

Sir James Black was one of the greatest Scottish scientists of the modern era. His work in medicine and pharmacology has improved the quality of life for millions of people around the world.

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See the Galloway Hoard

These unique and rare Viking-age objects lay hidden for a thousand years, but are now saved for the nation thanks to you!

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For Teachers: Primary Resources

Explore a range of activities suitable for pupils working at Early, First and Second Levels including: - Mandarin - Writing a story - Maths and numeracy

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Monymusk reliquary

Take a look inside one of the most treasured objects in the National Museum of Scotland.

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Secondary Social Studies resources

Famous Scots, Life and Death, literacy and more!

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Research Library

The Research Library is our main reading room on level 3 of the National Museum of Scotland.

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Post excavation analysis

The Scottish History and Archaeology Department at the National Museum of Scotland is a leading player in the field of post-excavation analysis of finds.

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Making Circles Schools Project

The Making Circles schools project invited children to be inspired by National Museums Scotland’s collections to create new Circular Economy products.

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About the Tibet Project

Discover more about the Tibetan project, in collaboration between the University of Stirling, Department of Languages, Cultures and Religions, and the National Museum of Scotland, Department of World Cultures.

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Meet our Volunteers

Volunteering with National Museums Scotland can be hugely rewarding. But don't take our word for it, here's what some of our volunteers say about their time with us.

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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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Alexander Peden's mask

Behind this frightening-looking mask, worn as a disguise by the outlawed Covenanting minister Alexander Peden, lies a fascinating story of rebellion and religious conviction.

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Annual Review 2019

With the opening in February 2019 of three new galleries at the National Museum of Scotland, we celebrated the completion of the transformation of our much-loved Victorian building.

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Second World War: Home Front

With the introduction of rationing, the threat of air raids, and the loss of so many workers through conscription, daily life looked and felt very different for people at home in Scotland during the Second World War.

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Fossil Hunters

This exhibition explored how life on earth moved from water onto land 360-345 million years ago.

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Top 10 things to see and do

Your journey of discovery starts here...

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Scotland’s Precious Seas

Visitors discovered the diversity of life in Scotland’s seas and the many threats facing our marine life.

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Margaret's Wardrobe

On 31 October 2014, Dr Chris Lee presented Margaret’s Wardrobe at the National Museum of Scotland, as part of Luminate: Scotland’s Festival of Creative Ageing. This illustrated talk showed how personal collections can help preserve self-identity, and how our museum collections continue to stimulate memories and discussion.

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Tyrannosaurs Exhibition Visit (S1-6)

The most comprehensive exhibition ever mounted on tyrannosaurs is coming to the National Museum of Scotland!

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Panjab Connections

The National Museum of Scotland received £16,400 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to work with young people from the Scottish Sikh community.

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Tyrannosaurs Exhibition Visit (P1-7)

The most comprehensive exhibition ever mounted on tyrannosaurs is coming to the National Museum of Scotland!

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Play and learn

Play online games exploring a range of museum subjects.

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