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What we do

At National Museums Scotland, we care for collections of national and international importance, preserving them, interpreting them and making them accessible to as many people as possible.

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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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A relic of General Charles Gordon

A fascinating example of a military relic can be seen in the collections of the Royal Engineers Museum in Chatham, Kent.

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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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Statement of Public Task

This statement outlines the functions carried out by National Museums Scotland that are within the Museum’s Public Task under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005.

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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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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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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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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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The Adventures of Dolly the Sheep

As part of the celebrations for the opening of ten new galleries at the National Museum of Scotland, the Young Demonstrators worked with artist Henry Cruickshank to create a comic strip starring our very own super sheep, Dolly.

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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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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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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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Contact us and Membership FAQs

Everything you need to know about Member benefits, becoming a Member, renewing or changing your Membership and gift Membership.

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Reflections on Celts

A spotlight tour from National Museums Scotland and the British Museum.

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HomeWorks

HomeWorks is a project inspired by art and design collections at the National Museum of Scotland. Led by artists Katie and Sophie Orton and Ali Glanville-Jones, the workshops aim to inspire creativity, connect people to our new Art, Design and Fashion galleries, and encourage an understanding of design processes.

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Membership

Members enjoy a range of exclusive benefits and support the work of National Museums Scotland. Join us from just £43.

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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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Gift Membership

Give memories that last a lifetime, give the gift of Membership.

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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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About us

The Hospitality and Events team have over 40 years' combined experience delivering spectacular events across National Museums Scotland’s unique and versatile sites.

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Tyrannosaurs

Visitors met the most feared and revered of all dinosaurs in this cutting-edge exhibition, that brought the latest discoveries in palaeontology to life and challenging preconceptions about these ferocious predators.

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Visiting FAQs

Learn more about what’s changed to help you plan your visit to the National Museum of Rural Life.

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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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Art of Glass on film

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

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Rip It Up associated events

As well as a host of live performances, talks and discussions hosted at the National Museum of Scotland, an exciting programme of associated events will be taking place across Edinburgh during the exhibition run.

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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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National Fund for Acquisitions 60th anniversary

December 2013 marked 60 years of the National Fund for Acquisitions.

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Tibetan objects

Most of the objects in the Museum’s Tibetan collection were acquired in the short timespan of 1890-1930, less than a lifetime, making this collection a snapshot of the British Empire’s relationship with Tibet.

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NMS Enterprises

National Museums Scotland Enterprises Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Museums Scotland.

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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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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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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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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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Ideas and resources for families

Have fun with our collections whether you’re at home or outdoors.

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Ideas and resources for teachers

Explore our online learning resources covering topics within Social Studies, Languages and STEM.

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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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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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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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Our links with Edinburgh University

National Museums Scotland and the University of Edinburgh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, underlining a commitment to greater joint working.

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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 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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© MOD Crown copyright  

The world famous Red Arrows conduct a daredevil close pass manoeuvre during display training in Greece.

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic team The Red Arrows deployed to Andravida and Tenagra in Greece to begin Exercise Springhawk.

The exercise runs from the 19th March until 05th May in Greece, and will consist of the Red Arrows performing their 9 ship display three times a day over various datums in order fir the display to meet the high standards expected for the display season. The end of the exercise will be marked by the pilots being awarded Public Display Authority which will allow them to display in public and wear the iconic red suits.
Hawk wings

The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft. A stunning pair of Hawk wings with the iconic RAF Red Arrows livery are on display in the new Explore gallery at the National Museum of Scotland.

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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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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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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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