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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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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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National Museums Scotland acquires one of the UK’s first autonomous vehicles

National Museums Scotland has acquired a prototype LUTZ Pathfinder, one of three vehicles used for the first test of fully self-driving cars in public in the UK. Going on display in the National Museum of Scotland from today, it is the first autonomous vehicle to enter a UK museum collection.

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Unmask the Lewis chess pieces

Welcome to the world of the Lewis chess pieces! Discover all there is to know about these mysterious figures in this interactive resource.

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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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Cup and cover by Malcolm Appleby

This striking ceremonial standing cup and cover was created especially for the Museum by virtuoso silversmith Malcolm Appleby.

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Messerschmitt Komet

The Messerschmitt Komet was the fastest aircraft of the Second World War, and the only rocket-powered fighter plane ever to be used in combat.

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Tipu Sultan and the Siege of Seringapatam

Explore the story of Tipu Sultan and the Siege of Seringapatam (Srirangapatna) at the National War Museum.

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Colour and draw

We asked our Facebook fans which objects from the National Museum of Scotland their families would like to colour in, and here are the results! From our family of lions to the giant sunfish, T-Rex to our elephant - is your favourite here?

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Scotland and the Caribbean

What do museum collections reveal about Britain’s and Scotland’s role in the Transatlantic slave system and the experiences of enslaved people?

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Mummy Shroud

A unique, full-length mummy shroud, which is over 2,000 years old yet is still in remarkable condition, has been discovered in National Museums Scotland’s collections.

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Supermarine Spitfire LF.XVIe

The Spitfire is the most famous of all British combat aircraft, and played a vital role in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

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The Rise and Fall of Hamilton Palace

The destruction of Hamilton Palace, the grandest stately home in Britain, was one of the greatest losses to national heritage ever to happen in this country. This is the story of how Scotland’s biggest treasure trove was won and lost.

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Made in Scotland, Changing the World

Over the last 300 years, Scottish scientists and engineers have made discoveries and inventions that have changed our relationship with the world. From simple, everyday processes to cutting edge of 21st-century medicine, Scotland remains at the heart of scientific innovation.

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Our Japanese collection

Explore highlights of our Japanese collection, from tiny netsuke to cutting edge designs, superb ceramics to Ainu artefacts.

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Advisory Board

Alongside our core Project Team the project has an Advisory Board that comprises university and museum-based academics working in the fields of cultural and visual anthropology, military history, military anthropology and archaeology.

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Mode

Mode brings the museum's wardrobe to life with a selection of 30 objects from the world of fashion.

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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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Lighthouses

Discover the story of the people who designed, built and operated Scotland's lighthouses through the objects which brought their role to life.

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The Glenmorangie Commission

In 2018, the internationally renowned metalsmith Simone ten Hompel was commissioned by National Museums Scotland and The Glenmorangie Company to create a new artwork inspired by our curatorial research and the Museum’s collection of metal artefacts from early medieval Scotland.

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Iranian fashion design

In 2015, the Edinburgh Iranian Festival and National Museums Scotland celebrated new movements in Iranian dress and design with a magnificent fashion show. On this occasion, the Museum acquired a selection of women’s clothing for its existing textile collection from Iran.

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James Clerk Maxwell animated

During 2013, our Scotland Creates volunteers at National Museum of Scotland worked with curators from our Science and Technology department to investigate objects on display in our galleries. This film, one of three made with animator Cameron Duguid, was written and directed by our volunteers and displays their unique perspective on James Clerk Maxwell's dynamic top.

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Audubon’s Birds of America

A new exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland will examine the artistry and legacy of one of the world’s rarest, most coveted and biggest books.

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Trading Places: Exploring Scotland’s commercial diaspora, past and present

This workshop seeks to expand academic knowledge and improve museum interpretation of Scotland’s commercial diaspora, focusing on the material culture of short-term economic migration. The project is supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

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Trainspotting script signed by Ewan McGregor

This signed script for the influential Edinburgh-set film Trainspotting was donated to the Museum by actor Ewan McGregor.

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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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Anatomy: A Matter of Death and Life

A major new exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland will look at the history of anatomical study, from artistic explorations by Leonardo da Vinci to the Burke and Hare murders.

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Incredible Insects

Investigate the wonderful world of insects this June as part of National Insect Week.

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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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The Galloway Hoard: Viking-Age Treasure

Visitors were able to see cleaned and conserved objects from the Hoard, revealing intricate decoration not seen since the objects' burial more than 1,000 years ago.

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Wester Kittochside

The history of the Reid family and farming on the Wester Kittochside farm National Museum of Rural Life.

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Black, white and green iIlustration for Selfie Safari featuring from left to right polar bear and Arctic fox, a monkey and a Reindeer.
Selfie Safari

Can you complete our Selfie Safari challenge? Find all the animals and take a family portrait with each one!

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Iznik-style dish

This painted pottery dish was made in about 1897 in Iran, in the style of Turkish pottery made in Iznik.

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Celebrating Black Fashion

Join model and broadcaster Eunice Olumide as she shares her experience of a transforming industry with museum curator Georgina Ripley.

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Charles Darwin's Scaly-throated earthcreeper

This earthcreeper was one of thousands of specimens collected during a voyage that Charles Darwin joined on the HMS Beagle.

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Sendtner orrery

The story of this 100-year-old planetarium provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of science interpretation, as well as a behind-the-scenes peek into early 20th century museum politics.

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Persian rug of Sir Robert Murdoch Smith

This bold and vibrant woollen pile rug once furnished the Edinburgh home of Sir Robert Murdoch Smith, the director of this museum from 1885 to 1900.

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Dolly and the Atom Smasher

Fly across Scotland with Dolly the sheep, hitch a ride to space on a rocket and collect museum objects along the way.

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Hidden in Plain Sight

This project brought together specialists from the fields of anthropology and military history to appraise the state of research into non-European military collections.

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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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African dolls

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

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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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Classifying the collection

In the 19th century there was a particularly intense interest in classifying the natural world.

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Farm animals

Our working farm at the National Museum of Rural Life is home to Ayrshire, Aberdeen Angus and Highland cattle, Tamworth pigs, sheep, hens and Clydesdale horses.

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Conscience Matters

This exhibition at the National War Museum explores the little-known story of British conscientious objectors of the Second World War through paintings, poems, letters, music and speeches.

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T-Yoga with Tara - Morning Flow in the Grand Gallery

Join Tara from T-Yoga at the National Museum of Scotland for a gentle morning flow designed to wake up your body and mind.

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Articulated Necklace by Dorothy Hogg

This articulated silver necklace encapsulating a large labradorite disc is one of Dorothy Hogg’s earliest works (1969-70).

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Visiting FAQs

Learn more about what’s changed to help you plan your visit.

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