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Explore our collections

Discover more about our amazing objects through stories, films, games and resources.

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Collections

Our collections represent Scottish material culture from the earliest times to the present day.

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Ancient Southern European collections

Our ancient Southern European collections offer a window onto the diverse cultures that flourished along the Mediterranean coast in antiquity.

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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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Collections reviews

Our specialist staff work with partner organisations to review their collections.

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Ancient Egyptian and Sudanese collections

National Museums Scotland’s internationally significant ancient Egyptian and Sudanese collections comprise around 6,300 items. Explore its rich treasures here.

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Archaeological Human Remains Collections

A series of short video presentations explore the different scientific techniques available to study archaeological collections of human remains resulting from excavations, best practice relating to sampling human remains, and the ethical debates around the appropriate management of human remains.

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Collections care training

This training resource focuses on the basics of caring for museum collections. It offers practical advice, shared good practice through case studies and demonstrations, and provides resources and links for further learning.

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Photographing collections

Taking high quality images of your collections is important for identification, research and to monitor the condition of objects. It is also a great way to make your collections accessible to the public.

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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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New to the National Collections

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

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Benin collections at National Museums Scotland

The 1897 invasion and looting of the west African Kingdom of Benin resulted in the sale and dispersal of thousands of artworks into European and American museums.

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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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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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Jean Jenkins collection

Delve into the diverse collection of pioneering ethnomusicologist Jean Jenkins.

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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.

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Art, Design and Fashion galleries

These sumptuous galleries showcase the best of decorative art, design, fashion and style.

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Natural World galleries

A giant T.rex guards our Natural World galleries, where we ask the big questions: how does the world work? What do we know about it? What is our place in the universe?

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Scottish History and Archaeology galleries

Our Scotland 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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World Cultures galleries

How can you travel around the world without leaving Scotland? By visiting our World Cultures galleries.

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Science and Technology galleries

Communications, transport, industry, engineering, energy and medicine: how have scientific and technological inventions changed our lives?

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Grand Gallery, Collecting Stories and Window on the World

Your journey from Scotland to the world begins in the Grand Gallery, one of Scotland's most beautiful spaces.

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Kawarasaki Gonjūrō I as Hanakawado Sukeroku, from the series Thirty-six Selected Floral Parallels (Tōsei mitate sanjūrokkasen)
Japanese theatre print

This beautiful 19th century woodblock print by the acclaimed artist Utagawa Kunisada features the actor Kawarasaki Gonjūrō I.

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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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Japanese writing box

This 19th century writing box displays the height of the Japanese lacquer artist's skill.

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Hanging Scroll Painting

This delightful 18th-century Japanese hanging scroll celebrates the New Year.

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Netsuke

Explore our collection of wonderful miniature Japanese sculptures that served functional and aesthetic purposes.

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National Museums Scotland Appoints New Director of Collections

National Museums Scotland is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Sam Alberti as its new Director of Collections.

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Making Circles Schools Project

The Making Circles schools project invited children to be inspired by National Museums Scotland’s collections to create new Circular Economy products.

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National Museum of Flight

Wing your way to one of Scotland's top days out at East Fortune Airfield.

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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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Embroidered hanging depicting a pomegranate tree, roses and other flowers, foliage and birds: designed by May Morris, 1891.
Discovering Decorative Arts at the National Museum of Scotland

National Museums Scotland are delighted to welcome back the University of Edinburgh Short Courses – a great way to explore our collections and their wider history with experts.

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Chanté St Clair Inglis

Head of Collections Services

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Boulton & Watt engine

This Boulton & Watt engine was the first full-sized engine acquired for the collections and is one of the oldest surviving beam engines in the world.

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Climate emergency films

Explore how we use our collections to understand the past, present and future of the climate emergency.

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Mandarin at the Museum

Learn how to say colours in Mandarin, explore the museum collections, in person or virtually, and create your own Chinese object card.

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Make and Create: Get hands-on with craft ideas

Get hands-on with craft ideas inspired by our collections.

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Elements: Fire

From intricate firelighting tools to rocket-powered aircraft and a fire alarm with a difference, our collections feature intriguing links to the element fire.

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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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