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Jean Jenkins collection

Delve into the diverse collection of pioneering ethnomusicologist Jean Jenkins.

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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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Cybraphon

Meet Cybraphon, the moody autonomous robot band in a box created by Edinburgh-based artist collective FOUND.

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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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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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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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Magic Carpet World

Our popular Magic Carpet storytelling sessions at the National Museum of Scotland provided inspiration for a pilot Community Engagement project encouraging bilingual families with preschool children to enjoy the Museum.

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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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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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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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Ming: The Golden Empire
Past exhibitions

Explore exhibitions held at the National Museum of Scotland over the past year.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Charles Peach's microscope

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

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Gala dinners, events and award ceremonies

National Museums Scotland’s unique and versatile venues set a memorable scene, whether you are entertaining 12 guests or 1,500.

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Meetings and conferences

The National Museum of Scotland provides comprehensive facilities for meetings, conferences and social events.

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Museums of Malawi partnership

National Museums Scotland and Museums of Malawi worked together to deliver a targeted museums skills development programme and to deliver a new David Livingstone display at Chichiri Museum, Blantyre, Malawi during 2013.

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Scottish History and Archaeology galleries

Our Scottish galleries guide you from the Palaeolithic era to the present day, from the earliest cultures to space age science, prehistory to pop culture.

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International Workshop

Our international workshop drew together speakers from a wide range of disciplines, and invited regimental, corps and service museum curators to discuss collecting cultures in military contexts beyond the parameters of the project, as well as contemporary themes including issues of reparation and return.

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Knowledge Exchange Workshop: Reconsidering Ethnographic Collections in Regimental Museums

On 11 September 2018 we held our first knowledge exchange workshop at the National Army Museum with a group of curators from different regimental museums across the United Kingdom.

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Become a Member

Discover all the benefits of Membership and find out about types of Membership, prices and ways to join here.

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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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Rip It Up

Discover the story of Scottish pop music at the National Museum of Scotland as we take you on a musical journey from the 1950s to the present day.

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Letters from the trenches

Find out about life in the trenches from a selection of letters from the First World War by Captain William Bennet-Clark.

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NMS Enterprises

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

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India

We have a long history of collaborating with museum institutions in India.

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Research project details

Find out more about the AHRC project and its precursors.

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Margaret Tytler's Indian models

This fascinating collection of scale models provides an invaluable source of information on life in 19th century India.

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Robert Burns on film

Celebrate the life and legacy of Robert Burns in a series of films focussing on key objects associated with the bard.

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Plan your visit

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

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Tamworth pig

Tamworth pigs are well suited to the Scottish climate and are one of the oldest surviving pig breeds.

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Highland cattle

One of Britains's most distinctive, and best-known breeds, with a long, thick, flowing coat of rich hair and majestic sweeping horns, the Highland cattle have remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

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Collections departments

Within our collections departments, our staff hold a wealth of knowledge and can provide expert advice on collections, their identification, care and management.

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Michael Eden's Portals

This contemporary piece by sculptor Michael Eden celebrates the architectural styles of the National Museum of Scotland.

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Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year 2009 Chapman Cheng tries out the Shetland fiddle.
Shetland fiddle

Discover how this traditional Scottish instrument was commissioned for the Performance and Lives gallery in the National Museum of Scotland.

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Out and about in Edinburgh: an adult learners' course

Out and About in Edinburgh was a five week course, developed by the City Community Learning Team for adult learners from South Bridge Resource Centre, Edinburgh delivered at the National Museum of Scotland.

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Secondary School resources

Trails and resources for Secondary School visits to the National Museum of Scotland.

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Primary School resources

Trails and resources for Primary School visits to the National Museum of Scotland.

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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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Amateur Microscopists

In the early 18th century, natural history was an increasingly popular pastime and many people visited fields and ponds, often bringing a microscope, to investigate the flora and fauna.

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