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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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Natural Sciences Collections

Our collections are divided into four sections: Earth Systems, Invertebrates, Palaeobiology and Vertebrate Biology.

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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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Sharing collections

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

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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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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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Borrowing from our collections

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

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New Holotype for Palaeobiology Collections

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

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Other Scottish collections

Some of the other Scottish museums home to Pacific collections.

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Egypt in North East Scotland

Collections in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

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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 Edinburgh and Lothians

Collections in Edinburgh, including National collections.

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Palaeobiology

Our collection covers all the major groups of fossil invertebrates, vertebrates, plants and trace fossils.

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Pacific collections in Scotland

Find out more about our review of Pacific material.

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Egypt in Scotland South

Collections in Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders.

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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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National War Museum

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

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Natural Science Collections Across Scotland

Natural Science Collections Across Scotland was a two-year project, funded by John Ellerman Foundation, working with museums across Scotland to advance curatorial expertise and increase engagement with natural science collections.

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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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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 Edinburgh and Lothians

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

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East Asia in North East Scotland

Collections in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

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Vertebrate Biology

Our collections comprise more than 200,000 vertebrate specimens from around the world.

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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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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 the Highlands and Islands

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

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Pacific collections at Glasgow Museums

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

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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 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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