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Architecture trail of the National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland is housed in magnificent buildings. Find out about its striking architectural details below, and explore them further on your next visit to our Museum.

A large, 3-story gallery space with an atrium where life-size models of animals are on display including marine life which hangs from the ceiling.
National Museum of Scotland

Your journey of discovery starts here.

Tour the National Museum of Scotland on Google StreetView

The National Museum of Scotland has become the first museum or gallery in Scotland available for exploration online via Google Arts & Culture’s Museum View experience.

People walking around a plane.
National Lottery Open Weekend

On 16 and 17 March, the National Museum of Flight is taking part in the National Lottery Open Week.

A family looking up at a statue in the Exploring East Asia gallery.
History of the National Museum of Scotland

In 2016, we celebrated 150 years since the magnificent building that houses the National Museum of Scotland first opened to the public. Explore the Museum’s history here.

The Maiden

Long before the French Revolution, the Scots had invented and were using the beheading machine known as the Maiden. It was used to execute criminals and political opponents of the crown from 1564 to 1710.

Scenic aerial image of the River Tweed and Eildon Hills on a sunny day, with crop marks from the Roman fort visible in the foreground.
Romans in Scotland: Trimontium Museum loan

Discover objects on loan to the new Trimontium Museum in the Scottish Borders


Discover the story of National Museums Scotland, from our 18th century beginnings to the present day.

Rectangular gilt-bronze mount depicting a lion, reused as a brooch in the grave of a woman and infant from Westness, Rousay, Orkney, length 66mm,
Rediscovering Viking-age Scotland with Michael Wood

Acclaimed historian and broadcaster Michael Wood joined Dr Adrián Maldonado, Glenmorangie Research Fellow, to discuss Adrián’s new book, 'Crucible of Nations: Scotland from Viking Age to Medieval Kingdom'. The book reassesses the museum’s Viking-age collections, uncovering an exciting new vision of Scotland’s diverse and creative past.

Chinese Oracle Bones

Visitors discovered some of the treasures within the National Museum Scotland's significant collection of oracle bones, the second largest in the world outside of China.

Tartan barkcloth by José Hendo

This striking fusion of styles, traditions, and Scottish and Ugandan cultures is designer José Hendo's sustainable fashion statement for our times.

The Luxury of Time: Clocks from 1550-1750

The Luxury of Time displayed a collection of rare and significant historical timepieces telling the story of a golden age of innovation in British watch and clockmaking.

Tour of the Kingdom of the Scots Gallery

Join curator Lydia Prosser for a guided virtual tour of our Kingdom of the Scots gallery at the National Museum of Scotland.

Gold-coloured brooch and pin, intricately decorated with raised Pictish-style patterns and red gemstones.
Members’ Spotlight: New Insights on Viking Burials

Join us for this exclusive Member event to learn more about one of the rarest Viking-age discoveries in Scotland.

Colour photo of a combine harvester being used in the field
Harvesting machinery of the 20th century

At the National Museum of Rural Life we have a significant collection of 20th-century harvesting machines in our large machinery store.

Red and green wax seals fixed to paper tassels attached to the Declaration of Arbroath.
Member Spotlight: The Declaration of Arbroath

Join us for an exclusive Member event to learn more about one of the most important documents in Scottish History.

Dalek cyborg emerging from a vortex in space with a DNA double helix, police box, and earth in the background.
Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder

Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder explored the science behind the global hit television series Doctor Who and give fans a chance to experience the Doctor’s adventures from a scientific perspective.

Sporrans at the National War Museum
National War Museum

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

Plane on the tarmac of an airfield.
National Museum of Flight

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

A model tractor sitting in a playpark with a rainbow in the sky in the background.
National Museum of Rural Life

Explore life in the countryside at our five-star museum, farmhouse and historic working farm.

Scotland and the Caribbean

What do museum collections reveal about Britain’s and Scotland’s role in the Transatlantic slave system and the experiences of enslaved people?

Making the Museum

More than 10 million objects make their home at the National Museum of Scotland. Discover the secrets of our treasures with this unique five-part series.

White sandstone carving of a ferocious lioness devouring the head and torso of a male figure.
Romans in Scotland: highlight objects

See five highlight objects that summarise the legacy of Rome's invasions of Scotland

Brown-orange bronze armlet, shaped like a tube, decorated with bold symbols in relief.
Benin collections at National Museums Scotland

For centuries the highly skilled artists and artisans of the Edo Kingdom have produced outstanding artworks of immense cultural value in the royal city of Benin in present day Nigeria.

Museum Stories with Chief Chebe

Join Chief Chebe as he takes you on two African storytelling adventures at the National Museum of Scotland.

A glance at Scotland’s national animal

The unicorn is first mentioned in a long lost book about India about 400 BC and eventually is adopted as Scotland's national animal in the 15th century and can now be seen everywhere.

Living in Renaissance Scotland: the highs and lows

Join curator Anna Groundwater for a guided virtual tour of life in Renaissance Scotland at the National Museum of Scotland.

Three shoes on a black background. One is large with a radial pattern of straps, one is medium with less complex straps, and one is small with just the sole surviving.
Romans in Scotland: life on the frontier

Forts were not just military bases, they became the heart of communities

Reenactors form a line of Roman cavalry on a grassy field, armed with spears, oval-shaped shields, shining helms and full-body armour.
Romans in Scotland: the Roman army

The Roman army was drawn from many corners of the vast Roman Empire

A moment of eye contact with a leopard as it curls its tail, while striding over water.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the most prestigious photography event of its kind, providing a global platform that showcases some of the best photography talent from around the world for nearly 60 years.

Clydesdale horse

Our beautiful Clydesdale horses are one of the star attractions at the National Museum of Rural Life

The Reid family

The Wester Kittochside Farm at National Museum of Rural Life was owned and run by the Reid family for more than 400 years.

Very old open book with medieval script and a colourful Biblical scene, held open by two purple-gloved hands.
Book of Hours inscribed by Mary, Queen of Scots

Delve into the pages of an exquisitely illuminated Book of Hours in which Mary, Queen of Scots, inscribed an affectionate verse in French to her great-aunt, Louise de Bourbon.

Scotland's Early Silver on film

Discover the story of Scotland’s early silver and how this precious metal helped to shape the first kingdoms of Scotland.

Brown-haired woman facing away from the camera looking at a laptop. Laptop screen has a slide with a Roman face mask.
Romans in Scotland: learning resources

Tools to help aid teaching and learning about the Romans in Scotland

A black and white photo of a person holding a flag who is standing on a submarine which is at the surface of a loch.
Cold War Scotland

Exploring Scotland’s critical position on the frontline of the Cold War, this new exhibition will tell the stories of the Scots at the centre of this global conflict.

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.

Monymusk reliquary

Take a look inside one of the most treasured objects in the National Museum of Scotland.

Museum Animations

Delve into our animated adventures and explore the world around us from unique perspectives.

Romans in Scotland: major archaeological sites

Archaeological finds from Rome's invasions of Scotland can be found throughout the country, from the Solway Firth to Moray. Three of the most prominent sites are Trimontium, Traprain Law, and the Antonine Wall.

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