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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.

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.

Three hand drawn portraits of First World War soldiers side by side on the wall of a dark gallery space.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Black and white photo of a large group of young people walking and holding homemade signs with peaceful slogans.
The Cold War

The Cold War was a global conflict that began in the late 1940s and ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It was fought as contest over a way of life as much as it was an armed confrontation.

Clydesdale horse

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

Painting of a chaotic battle scene of soldiers forcing a chateau gate closed against opposing soldiers on the other side.
Objects linked to Waterloo

Explore the story of Waterloo at the National War Museum.

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.

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.

Art at War

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

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.

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.

A painting of several men in a battlefield trench in el Kebir, Egypt.
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.

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.

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.

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

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.

The poppy

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

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.


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

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.

Museum Stories with Chief Chebe

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

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.

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.

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.

Blue tennis balls, binoculars, magnifying glass, compass and lock and key lie beside blue satchel bag.
Second World War Satchels

Bring the history of the Second World War to live with our summer activity satchels for adults and families.

A couple holds hands walking on the tarmac in front of a plane.
Museum map

Plan the perfect trip to the National Museum of Flight

Direction sign that reads "To the farm".
Museum map

Plan the perfect trip to the National Museum of Rural Life

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.

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.

Museum Animations

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

Tipu Sultan and the Siege of Seringapatam

Explore the story of Tipu Sultan and the Siege of Seringapatam (Srirangapatna) at the National War Museum.

Three people gather round a table and look at a sword and shield.
Museum Socials

Our Museum Socials series of events are created for anyone affected by Dementia and their relatives, friends and supporters.

Someone is using a compass on a 1940s map. The map is placed on a desk, and the hand using the compass is visible as the person stands just out of shot, though they are wearing a blue RAF uniform.
Second World War Puzzle Room

Can you and your family solve puzzles and codes from the Second World War?

Museum Role Call

In this series, get to know people from across our museums, the spaces they work in and the objects they are inspired by.

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