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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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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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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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Gérard Quenum's 'L'Ange'

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

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Eating at the museum

Enjoy a range of freshly prepared food and drink in our two cafés at the museum.

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Thai Ceramics

Among the museum's collection in storage are a group of Thai ceramics excavated at Sawankhalok.

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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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Climate emergency in focus in new displays at the National Museum of Scotland

Two new displays opening on Friday 24 September at the National Museum of Scotland explore the impact of climate change and the technological response in Scotland to the climate emergency.

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Tractors

From the early 20th century, the tractor helped to transformed farm life in Scotland. There are several examples on display in the collection at the National Museum of Rural Life, East Kilbride.

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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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Project Catalogues

Explore the catalogues of museum collections surveyed for the research project Baggage and Belonging: Military Collections and the British Empire

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The box that went on the March to Kandahar

Here we examine a decorated wooden box in the collections of the Highlanders Museum that was purchased as a souvenir from Afghanistan in 1880.

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4th South African Infantry (South African Scottish), France, 1918 © Ditsong National Museum of Military History
Common Cause

This exhibition explored the stories of the Scottish diaspora and the war experiences of Commonwealth nations during the First World War.

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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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Heddle's mineral collection

Mineral collecting was Matthew Heddle's main passion. Several of his minerals are on display in the National Museum of Scotland.

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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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Material Encounters

This project reassessed military collecting through a pilot study of two British military campaigns, the Seven Years' War in North America (1754-63) and the Younghusband Mission to Tibet (1903-04).

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Jean Jenkins collection

Delve into the diverse collection of pioneering ethnomusicologist Jean Jenkins.

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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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Nurse Mellor's autograph book

Florence Mellor worked as a volunteer nurse treating wounded troops.

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Pembridge helm

This 14th-century great helm belonged to one of King Edward III's knights, Sir Richard Pembridge, who fought in the Hundred Years' War between England and France.

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Kunwar Singh’s Silver Fly Whisk

One of the aims of the project is to begin to untangle the many ways in which objects come into museum collections. Here we investigate the provenance of a fly whisk associated with the Indian Uprising of 1857-8.

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Schools programme

Bring the Curriculum for Excellence to life with the help of the national collections.

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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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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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Micro parasites

We are at war with the malaria parasite! Can you fight this as it transforms into different deadly strains of malaria?

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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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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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Legacies of Empire

Legacies of Empire examines the histories connected to objects brought back from colonial conflict by the military forces of the British Empire.

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Our collections

The wealth of objects in the national collection represent everything from Scottish and international archaeology to applied arts and design, from world cultures and social history to science, technology and the natural world.

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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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Common Cause

This exhibition explored the stories of the Scottish diaspora and the war experiences of Commonwealth nations during the First World War.

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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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The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line is one of the best known of all Scottish historical paintings and is the classic representation of Highland military heroism as an icon of Scotland.

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Closing the Gates at Hougoumont

This picture shows a turning point during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

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Elements: Air

Discover how air has been used in modes of transport from airships to hot air balloons and how different species make use of air to travel through flight and gliding.

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Celts

This major exhibition, organised in partnership with the British Museum, unravelled the complex story of the different groups who have used or been given the name ‘Celts’ through the extraordinary art objects they made and used.

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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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Research project details

Find out more about the AHRC project and its precursors.

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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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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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History of East Fortune

East Fortune Airfield is the UK's best-preserved Second World War airfield. Discover its history from its beginnings in the First World War to its transformation to a national museum.

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