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Explore our collections

Explore stories, films, games and resources from the museums’ collections.

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Collections Services department

The Collections Services department manages and cares for our collections.

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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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Collections and research

Research is core to our activities as a Museum. Fnd out more about current research projects and opportunities, contact our curatorial staff and search our collections database.

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Sharing collections

Loans and touring exhibitions ensure our collections reach as many people as possible.

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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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Other vertebrate collections

We have a variety of other collections that cover all vertebrates, including archaeological bone, anatomical preparations and tissues.

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Collections and research policies

National Museums Scotland aims to develop, manage, conserve and interpret the national collections, to ensure their preservation and benefit to the public.

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Search the collections

Our online database contains a selection of the 12 million objects and specimens in our collections.

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Pacific Collections in Scottish Museums

Explore Pacific collections through this partnership project focusing on objects from across the region housed in Scottish museums.

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New to the National Collections

This small display highlighted a selection of the recent acquisitions at National Museums Scotland.

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Colonial collections

Find out more about how colonial collectors gathered a broad range of objects from areas that were, and still are, considered ethnically and culturally Tibetan to some degree, including areas of Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Ladakh and West Bengal.

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Introduction to Pacific Collections resource

The Introduction to Pacific Collections is a resource for anyone interested in working with material culture from the Pacific.

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Borrowing from our collections

We lend objects from our collection to museums around the world.

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Other Scottish collections

Some of the other Scottish museums home to Pacific collections.

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New Holotype for Palaeobiology Collections

An exciting new discovery from the TW:eed Research project.

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Egypt in North East Scotland

Collections in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

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Egypt in Edinburgh and Lothians

Collections in Edinburgh, including National collections.

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Pacific collections at National Museums Scotland

Explore the Pacific collection at National Museums Scotland in more detail.

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Egypt in Scotland South

Collections in Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders.

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Pacific collections in Scotland

Find out more about our review of Pacific material.

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India in our collections

Our Indian collections encompass a wide range of objects and reflect various aspects of Indian life.

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Egypt in the Highlands and Islands

Collections in Argyll and Bute, Eilean Siar, Highland, Orkney and Shetland.

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Scotland's East Asia Collections

Find out more about East Asian collections in museums across Scotland

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Military collections from the Younghusband Expedition

Discover how the advent of the Younghusband Expedition resulted in the collection of Tibetan objects directly from Tibet by British military collectors.

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Natural Science Collections Across Scotland

Until March 2021 we will be working with museums across Scotland to increase engagement with natural science collections, with generous funding from the John Ellerman Foundation.

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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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Egypt in Glasgow and Strathclyde

Collections in the west of Scotland from Inverclyde to East Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire to East Dunbartonshire.

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East Asia in North East Scotland

Collections in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

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East Asia in Edinburgh and Lothians

Collections in City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian.

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National War Museum

Within the walls of Edinburgh Castle, the National War Museum tells the story of Scotland at war.

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East Asia in Tayside, Central and Fife

Collections in Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dundee City, Falkirk, Perth and Kinross and Stirling

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East Asia in the Highlands and Islands

Collections in Argyll and Bute, Eilean Siar, Highland, Orkney and Shetland.

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Museum at home

Wherever you are, there are lots of ways to explore and learn about our amazing collections online.

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East Asia in Glasgow and Strathclyde

Collections in the west of Scotland from Inverclyde to East Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire to East Dunbartonshire.

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Pacific collections at Glasgow Museums

Find out more about artefacts at Glasgow Museums from the Pacific.

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Pacific collections at the University of Aberdeen Museums

A closer look at University of Aberdeen museums Pacific material.

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East Asia in Scotland South

Collections in Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders

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Scotland’s Precious Seas

Visitors discovered the diversity of life in Scotland’s seas and the many threats facing our marine life.

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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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JG Williams collection

The Natural Sciences department houses more than 2,000 shells, insects, bird skins and bats from the collections of the legendary naturalist John George Williams.

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Blaschka models

Discover how these amazing glass models have been educating and inspiring visitors for almost 150 years.

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Jean Jenkins collection

Delve into the diverse collection of pioneering ethnomusicologist Jean Jenkins.

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Ancient Egyptian collection

National Museums Scotland’s Ancient Egyptian collection comprises around 6,000 items. Explore its rich treasures here.

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Classical collection

Our Classical collection unlocks a window to a ‘birthplace of civilisation’: ancient Greece and Rome.

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Ere ibeji figures

These carved wooden sculptures from West Africa represent the souls of deceased twins.

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Native American jewellery

Navajo and Pueblo jewellery from the Southwest United States is denoted by its use of turquoise and silver.

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The Kronfol Collection

Finely decorated household items of solid silver were a status symbol under the Pahlavi dynasty.

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Ancient Egypt, East Asia and Ceramics galleries

Discover our Ancient Egypt, East Asia and Ceramics galleries which opened in February 2019.

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