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Iron meteorite (Fe)

Iron can be used in the speakers and microphones of mobile phones.

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Witch's iron collar

This witch's iron collar (or jougs) was owned by the parish of Ladybank in Fife in the 17th century.

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Iron Age gold torcs

In September 2009, an amateur treasure hunter made an amazing discovery when he unearthed four gold neck ornaments (torcs) in a field near Stirling.

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Torrs pony cap

This unique decorated Iron Age cap would have adorned a highly prized pony.

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Newbridge chariot reconstruction

This splendid reconstruction brings to life an Iron Age chariot discovered at Newbridge, near Edinburgh Airport. Chariot burials were very exclusive, and this is the oldest in Britain.

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Ballachulish figure

Fertility figure or Iron Age goddess of the straits? This carved sculpture of a female dates from around 600 BC, but its origins remain unknown.

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Build a roundhouse

Iron Age Scots lived in roundhouses made from wood, turf and animal hide. Can you choose the right materials to build your own roundhouse?

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Michael Eden's Portals

This contemporary piece by sculptor Michael Eden celebrates the architectural styles of the National Museum of Scotland.

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The Glenmorangie Commission

In 2018, the internationally renowned metalsmith Simone ten Hompel was commissioned by National Museums Scotland and The Glenmorangie Company to create a new artwork inspired by our curatorial research and the Museum’s collection of metal artefacts from early medieval Scotland.

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Make Your Own Celtic Torc

The Iron Age Celts loved to show off their wealth and importance by wearing fancy gold necklaces called torcs. Copy their look by making your own – it's blingtastic!

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James VI and I

James VI and I was a hugely significant Stewart king, but has been overshadowed by his notorious relations: his predecessor in Scotland, his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots; in England, his cousin, Elizabeth I; and his successor in both kingdoms, Charles I.

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Deskford carnyx

Uncover the history of this iconic Celtic trumpet, and find out how it has been reconstructed to bring the music of the past to life.

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Bicycles at National Museums Scotland

Journey through a brief history of the early bicycle and discover some of our modern cycling treasures.

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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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Romans in Scotland: the Roman army

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

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Pocket watch from the shipwreck of the Swan

Salvaged from a shipwreck, this pocket watch has lain under water for over 300 years. But now a high-tech process has uncovered the hidden secrets of this rusty artefact.

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Classifying the collection

In the 19th century there was a particularly intense interest in classifying the natural world.

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Romans in Scotland: life on the frontier

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

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Romans in Scotland: highlight objects

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

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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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The story of the plough

After 4,000 years the plough is still with us and its development has been at a slow and steady pace but the basic technology has remained the same. Discover more about this essential tool through ploughs in our collection.

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LGBTQIA+ Hidden Histories Trail

Discover unexplored stories in our LGBTQIA+ Hidden Histories audio trail.

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Amethyst geode

This huge amethyst geode formed over 130 million years ago in lava during a period of volcanic activity.

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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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Diba Mehrabi

Diba Mehrabi trained as an artist before studying contemporary textile practice. In her work, she brings both interests together.

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EMAS: The first bionic arm

Scotland Creates volunteer Aileen Miller explains why this pioneering Edinburgh Modular Arm System (EMAS) is so awesome

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Our Korean collection

This rich collection focuses mainly on the Joseon period, Korea's last dynasty which lasted over five centuries. However, earlier periods and contemporary works are also represented in a collection that spans over 2,000 years.

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Image adapted from a lithograph by J. Maclise, 1841/1844. Credit: Wellcome Collection
Anatomy: A Matter of Death and Life

Explore the history of anatomical study, from artistic explorations by Leonardo da Vinci to the Burke and Hare murders.

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Ruston & Hornsby No.6 steam excavator

Discover the classic Ruston steam excavator, and find out how our conservation team restored it to its former glory.

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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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The mystery of the miniature coffins

Satanic spell, superstitious charm or echo of Edinburgh’s grisly underworld history? We examine the theories put forward to explain the strange tale of these tiny coffins.

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Elements: Earth

Investigate different aspects of life on Earth, through fascinating fossils, tools for turning the soil and pieces of art reflecting the devastating effects of pollution on our planet.

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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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Muonionalusta meteorite

Discover how an extra-terrestrial exhibit was made ready for display in the National Museum of Scotland.

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Newcomen atmospheric engine

Visitors to the Scotland Transformed gallery at National Museum of Scotland cannot miss the mighty Newcomen engine.

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An Egyptian Luxury in Roman Scotland

Discover how research and collecting at National Museums Scotland is reshaping understandings of Scotland in the past as we take a closer look at a very special Roman object with surprising Egyptian origins.

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NCR cash register

Discover and investigate the history of the cash register, an object that has become a part of our everyday lives.

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The Lewis chess pieces

These medieval chess pieces from the Scottish island of Lewis are among our most popular collections. They give us fascinating insights into the international connections of western Scotland and the growing popularity of chess in medieval Europe.

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Forth Bridge paint mixer

The phrase 'painting the Forth Bridge' has become synonymous with a never-ending task. Discover how this humble paint mixer played its part in the maintenance of one of Scotland's most iconic structures.

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Gold weights from Ghana

These small objects were essential tools for trade in West Africa until the end of the 19th century.

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Samurai armour

Discover the way of the Japanese warrior.

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Objects associated with Mary, Queen of Scots

In our collection we have many items that have been linked to the famous Queen, but is this association fact or myth?

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Westness brooch-pin

A masterpiece of early medieval art, this silver brooch-pin decorated with gold, amber and glass was found buried within a Viking grave in Orkney.

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Victorian photographic techniques

Discover how Victorian inventors and entrepreneurs succeeded in capturing the very first images.

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