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Two visitors walking through a gallery at the National War Museum.
Things to see and do

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

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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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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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Two families walking along a trail in a garden with a scarecrow in the background.
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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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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Brown-orange bronze armlet, shaped like a tube, decorated with bold symbols in relief.
Benin collections at National Museums Scotland

For centuries the highly skilled artists and artisans of the Edo Kingdom have produced outstanding artworks of immense cultural value in the royal city of Benin in present day Nigeria.

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Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer

Only 89 Twin Pioneers were ever built – and you can see one in the National Museum of Flight.

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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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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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Enigmatic eurypterids

Important type specimen discovered on display at the National Museum of Scotland.

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Closeup of Alexander Peden's mask. Resembles a human decaying human face with eye holes and real light brown hair with beard.
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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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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£250,000 project for community groups to research collections in galleries, libraries, archives and museums across the UK 

National Museums Scotland has been awarded a grant by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) with the National Maritime Museum, London to enable organisations around the UK to work with community groups to explore experiences of empire, migration, and life in Britain through their collections.

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Avro Vulcan B.2A

See the world's first delta winged bomber on display at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune Airfield.

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Painting of a chaotic battle scene of soldiers forcing a chateau gate closed against opposing soldiers on the other side.
Objects linked to Waterloo

Explore the story of Waterloo at the National War Museum.

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Two visitors looking at mosaic tiles hanging on a wall.
Top 10 things to see and do

Your journey of discovery starts here...

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Schmidt telescope

Find out how this revolutionary telescope was invented, and how it found a home at the National Museum of Scotland.

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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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Muonionalusta meteorite

Discover how an extra-terrestrial exhibit was made ready for display in the National Museum of Scotland.

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Numbat

We trace the story of the Australian mammals in the Natural World galleries at the National Museum of Scotland and meet the rare numbat.

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Atlantic slave trade learning resources

Discover how objects in the museum’s collections can help us explore Scotland’s involvement in the Atlantic slave trade and the abolitionist movement.

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Ching Ching

Meet Ching Ching the panda, one of the world’s most endangered species in Survival at National Museum of Scotland.

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Gérard Quenum's 'L'Ange'

This bold and engaging sculpture is a mixed media piece made from recycled found objects.

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Social Impact Toolkit

This toolkit was created in partnership with museums across Scotland to explore ways to measure and articulate the social impact of engagement with autistic children, their families and young people.

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Venue hire at National Museum of Rural Life

With a diverse range of events spaces and idyllic grounds, the museum is an ideal location for corporate or private events.

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Fossil Hunters: Unearthing the Mystery of Life on Land

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

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National Museums Scotland Appoints New Director of Collections

National Museums Scotland is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Sam Alberti as its new Director of Collections.

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Three cows in a pen eating hay.
Plan your visit

Find out everything you need to know about visiting the National Museum of Rural Life.

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Museum Screen Time: expert reacts to the Viking Age in pop culture

Join Galloway Hoard researcher Dr Adrián Maldonado as he reacts to depictions of the Viking Age in movies, TV and video games.

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Museum Maker: How to make an owl badge

We’ve teamed up with upcycling experts Ostrero and artist Bryony Knox to create a design for a cool owl badge – made form a fizzy drinks can! Try it out today.

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White sandstone carving of a ferocious lioness devouring the head and torso of a male figure.
Romans in Scotland: highlight objects

See five highlight objects that summarise the legacy of Rome's invasions of Scotland

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A painting of several men in a battlefield trench in el Kebir, Egypt.
The Storming of Tel-el-Kebir

The battle of Tel-el-Kebir was a decisive moment in the British maintaining order in Egypt in the late 19th century and its depicted in a magnificent painting at National War Museum.

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Second World War: People and Places

Images of people taking part in aspects of everyday life at home and and on the front line during the Second World War from the Scottish Life Archive and the collection.

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Jean Jenkins collection

Delve into the diverse collection of pioneering ethnomusicologist Jean Jenkins.

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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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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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Very old book with a colourful spine on a velvety red surface. Faded off-white cover decorated with a cherub and group of people between two columns.
Mary, Queen of Scots and the Book of Hours

Marvel up close at the pages of an illustrated prayer book featuring a handwritten poem by a young Mary, Queen of Scots.

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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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General self-led visit

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

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Family Puzzle Trail

Download our family trail to help you plan a structured visit to the National Museum of Scotland.

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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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Charles Peach's microscope

This compound microscope belonged to Charles Peach (1800 - 86), a highly respected naturalist and fossil hunter.

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