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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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An Ocean sunfish and a scuba diver
Revealing the Secrets of the Rosemarkie Sunfish

Discover the facts about a large ocean sunfish that stranded off Scotland’s coast in 2020 and hear what we can learn from studying this strange fish.

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DTP research at National Museums Scotland

Find out more about graduate research.

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The Heddle collection

Professor Matthew Forster Heddle (1828-1897) was Scotland's most famous mineralogist. At National Museums Scotland, we look after 5,700 specimens from his collection.

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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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Collaborative Doctoral Partnership opportunities

National Museums Scotland is a member of the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium. The Consortium is a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

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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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New thinking, new collecting

This display highlights a small selection from our Scottish History & Archaeology collections, showing how research and collecting at National Museums Scotland is reshaping understandings of Scotland in the past, and reflecting the Scotland of today for future generations of museum visitors.

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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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Jompy water boiler

Developed here in Scotland in 2010, this sustainable technology is helping to bring clean drinking water to the developing world

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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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Doctoral Research Projects

Find out more about the postgraduate doctoral projects which National Museums Scotland co-supervises supported from a variety of sources.

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Silver dirhams from the Storr Rock Viking Hoard

A 10th-century hoard found on the Isle of Skye contained 19 dirhams, silver coins from the Islamic emirates of central Asia. These were not exotic curiosities collected by a Viking traveller, but evidence of trade routes connecting Scotland across vast distances at the turn of the first millennium.

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Awesome Bricks at home

Recreate your favourite museum objects and places using the LEGO® you have at home!

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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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Woolly mammoth tusks

Two pieces of tusk in our collection show that some woolly mammoths made their home in Scotland, while another provides early evidence of mammoths in North America.

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St Andrew and the Saltire

St Andrew is Scotland's patron saint and his Saltire (X-shaped) cross is Scotland's flag. Discover more about how he has been represented through the centuries.

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Awesome Bricks

Join us for one of Scotland's biggest hands-on LEGO® events.

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Corporate & Social Events

The National Museum of Scotland in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town offers the most stunning setting for memorable events.

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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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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 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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Turkey red pattern
Colouring the Nation

Discover the beauty of our Scottish Turkey red collection through this collaborative project between National Museums Scotland and the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh.

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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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Museum Maker: How to make paper art

We’ve teamed up with upcyling experts Ostrero and artist Bryony Knox to create three paper-cut designs inspired by Scottish animals. Choose from a stately stag, a magical unicorn or a red squirrel! The designs are inspired by paper-cut art from Mexico . Look out for some examples in our Patterns of Life gallery.

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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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Reclaiming Romance: Highland dress and the material culture of the Highland Revival, c.1750–c.1900

The aim of this two-year research project is to survey and re-interpret the Highland dress and tartan fashion holdings of National Museums Scotland, assessing them for further research and display potential.

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Culloden: Regimental colours

These rare Jacobite and British military colours were carried into battle at Culloden by opposing sides.

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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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Objects linked to Waterloo

Explore the story of Waterloo at the National War Museum.

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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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Classifying the collection

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

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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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Scottish History and Archaeology department

Our archaeological and Scottish collections cover Scottish material culture from the earliest times to the present day.

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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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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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Ida Pappenheim scent bottle collection

In 1971, over 300 beautiful scent bottles were donated to National Museums Scotland. The scent bottles were collected by Ida Pappenheim. Discover the story behind this charming collection.

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Who was Phoebe Anna Traquair?

The first important professional woman artist of modern Scotland, Phoebe Anna Traquair was a leading figure within the Scottish Arts and Crafts movement.

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Maths in Museums

Throughout 2021, we want to work with local museums across Scotland to integrate more maths into their museum programming and provide support to take part in Maths Week Scotland.

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Scotland's Climate Challenge

This exhibition highlights the exciting work being carried out in Scotland to fight against climate change.

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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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Top things to see and do

Make the most of your visit with our museum highlights. Your rural adventure starts here!

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Visiting FAQs

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

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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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Incredible Insects

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

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