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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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National War Museum Library

The Library is based in the National War Museum within the walls of Edinburgh Castle.

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First World War

1914 brought war to Scotland on what would prove to be an unprecedented scale. Delve into the stories behind those who fought in the First World War here.

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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.

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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.

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Second World War

1939 saw the start of a conflict that would change Scotland and the world. Discover Scottish stories related to different aspects of the Second World War - life on the Home Front, the development of technology driven by the conflict, and personal memories of some of the people who lived through it.

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National Museum of Scotland

Your journey of discovery starts here.

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National Museum of Rural Life

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

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Prisoners of war at East Kilbride

During and directly after the Second World War, the Reid family at Wester Kittochside, East Kilbride employed both Italian and German prisoners of war.

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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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Museum Art Challenge 2021

Between 29 November and 2 January we invited you to get creative and make art inspired by National Museums Scotland’s incredible collections and sites. There were 5 weekly themes to act as prompts for the challenge and get you thinking. As an extra twist, this year the themes were homophones– words that sound the same but have a different meaning, such as peace and piece. The Museum Art challenge was open to everyone - no experience necessary!

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Museum libraries

Our library services support the research and learning needs of Museum staff, visitors, and the wider external research community.

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Casualty of War: A Portrait of Maharaja Duleep Singh

Casualty of War: A Portrait of Maharaja Duleep Singh is by renowned British Sikh artists, The Singh Twins.

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Clydesdale horse

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

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Art at War

Discover a range of paintings, drawings and pastels from the First and Second World Wars from our military collection.

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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.

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Objects linked to Waterloo

Explore the story of Waterloo at the National War Museum.

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Visiting our museums

Discover the latest information about visiting our museums

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Materialising the Cold War

For forty years two superpowers and their allies took the world back and forth from the brink of catastrophe in a nuclear stand-off that pervaded everyday life for billions. Three decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall, our collaborative project ‘Materialising the Cold War’ explores how this conflict is represented in museums.

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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.

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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.

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Romans in Scotland: Trimontium Museum loan

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

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Colour photo of an embroidered wall hanging with foliage, flowers and birds.
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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Exchange: Community-Led Collections Research

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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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.

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Conscience Matters

This exhibition at the National War Museum explores the little-known story of British conscientious objectors of the Second World War through paintings, poems, letters, music and speeches.

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The Storming of Tel-el-Kebir

The battle of Tel-el-Kebir was a decisive moment in the British maintaining order in Egypt in the late 19th century and its depicted in a magnificent painting at National War Museum.

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The poppy

Find out how and why the poppy was adopted as a symbol of remembrance in the aftermath of the First World War.

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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.

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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.

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Museum Stories with Chief Chebe

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

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Flying into the Future Trail

Discover how engineers are working to make air travel less damaging to the environment with this museum trail.

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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.

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Second World War: Technology

Changing technology played a vital role in the Second World War. Major advances in communications, weaponry and medicine came about as a direct result of the conflict.

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L’Éden panoramic wallpaper

Uncover the landscape of L’Éden, a set of 20 rolls of 19th-century scenic wallpaper and discover how this spectacular wallcovering has been conserved by the Museum.

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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.

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Museum Art Challenge 2020

What inspires you in our museums? Get creative and join our month-long online art challenge at National Museums Scotland!

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Advisory Board Meeting at the National Museum of World Cultures, Leiden

On 28 November 2018, colleagues from our Advisory Board met at the National Museum of World Cultures in Leiden to discuss how the project has progressed since our last meeting.

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Second World War: Home Front

With the introduction of rationing, the threat of air raids, and the loss of so many workers through conscription, daily life looked and felt very different for people at home in Scotland during the Second World War.

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Mandarin at the Museum

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

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Cover up for the Clean Room screenshot
Museum Animations

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

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