National Museum of Scotland

The Grand Gallery of the National Museum of Scotland
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Fire your imagination at the National Museum of Scotland, one of the UK’s top 10 visitor attractions. Our diverse collections will take you on a journey of discovery through the history of Scotland, the wonders of nature and world cultures – all under one roof.

From meteorites to monsters from the deep, our Natural World galleries tell the story of our planet, while our World Cultures galleries link people and possessions across the globe. Follow the story of Scotland from prehistory to the present day in our Scottish galleries, marvel at a spectacular array of over 800 objects in our Window on the World and meet the Scots whose ideas, innovations and leadership took them across the world in our Discoveries gallery.

Venue Type:

Museum

Opening hours

Daily: 10:00-17:00
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: 12:00-17:00
New Year's Day: 12:00-17:00

Admission charges

Admission free, donations welcome.

Getting there

A number of buses go via the city centre and stop outside the museum on Chambers Street, or nearby on George IV Bridge and South Bridge. Single and day tickets are available. Lothian Buses’ family DAYticket allows two adults and up to three children unlimited travel together on day services. Visit the Lothian Buses website for further information.

During the summer there is a special weekend bus, Service 9 , that runs between the National Museum of Scotland and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Additional info

See website for details

Come and explore the National Museum of Scotland. When did people first settle in Scotland? What are our oldest treasures? Discover some of the nation's most precious possessions alongside the everyday objects that throw light on Scotland throughout the ages.

Our collections represent astonishing diversity, from fossils showing evidence of the earliest forms of life, to the rich artefact collections representing world cultures. Material evidence of Scottish history and culture from the earliest times to the present day has been collected and preserved for the future.

You can take part in lots of activities every day at the Museum. To get the most from your visit, pick up a map and check our information screens for details of all events and activities.

Collection details

Weapons and War, Trade and Commerce, Social History, Religion, Industry, Coins and Medals, Archaeology, Agriculture, Science and Technology, Costume and Textiles, Design, Fine Art, Music, World Cultures, Aviation, Decorative and Applied Art, Medicine, Natural Sciences

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
A photograph of a coin

Celts

  • 10 March — 25 October 2016 *on now

This exhibition tells the story of the different peoples who have used or been given the name ‘Celts’ through the stunning art objects that they made, including intricately decorated jewellery, highly stylised objects of religious devotion, and the decorative arts of the late 19th century which were inspired by the past.

This is the first major British exhibition in 40 years to tell the story of the Celts. It showcases stunning and rare artworks lent from 16 UK institutions and ten international lenders.

Organised with the British Museum.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Adult £10
Concession £8*
Child (12-15) £6.50
Under 12s Free

Website

http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/whats-on/celts/

Reflecting Telescopes

  • 25 March — 28 August 2016 *on now

This small display reveals the work of pioneering Scots in the development of the reflective telescope.

The display highlights James Gregory (1638?75), a contemporary of Isaac Newton and Professor of Mathematics at St Andrews then Edinburgh University. Gregory published an innovative design for a ‘reflecting’ telescope in 1663. A predecessor of the modern telescope, Gregory’s device used mirrors, rather than glass lenses, to create a more compact instrument and sharper images.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/whats-on/reflecting-telescopes/

Stone Age jade axes

Stone Age Jade from the Alps

  • 20 May — 30 October 2016 *on now

The rare and exquisite jadeitite axeheads found around the Scottish countryside have long puzzled archaeologists. How did these beautiful Neolithic axeheads end up in Scotland, so far from their origins in the North Italian Alps around 6,000 years ago?

Now, thanks to a French-led project involving National Museums Scotland – Projet Jade – their fascinating story can be told. Stone Age Jade from the Alps tells the story of these precious ceremonial objects.

Linking the ancient world with the modern, the exhibition will also feature a sculpture inspired by one of these axeheads, created by contemporary sculptor, Tim Pomeroy.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/whats-on/stone-age-jade-from-the-alps/

Warren Elsmore with his LEGO model of the National Museum of Scotland

BUILD IT! A museum made from LEGO®

  • 1 June — 1 December 2016 *on now

A beautiful three-metre LEGO® model of the National Museum of Scotland is now on display.

Renowned brick artist Warren Elsmore and his team took over 350 hours and almost 90,000 bricks to build this exquisite model of the museum.

Using scale-plans and elevation drawings, the miniature model depicts gallery details and a number of exhibition objects with thousands of tiny bricks. Every single brick used is a standard LEGO® brick, although rare bricks and parts were sought from all over Europe to complete this unique build.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/whats-on/build-it-a-museum-made-from-lego/

Snow Hare by Rosalind McFarlane, Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

  • 16 September 2016 — 19 February 2017

The world-renowned exhibition, on loan from the Natural History Museum in London, features 100 awe-inspiring images, from fascinating animal behaviour to breath-taking wild landscapes.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the most prestigious photography event of its kind, providing a global platform that showcases the natural world’s most astonishing and challenging sights for over 50 years. Launched in 1965 and attracting 361 entries, today the competition receives over 42,000 entries from 96 countries, highlighting its enduring appeal. This year’s 100 award-winning images will embark on an international tour that allows them to be seen by millions of people across six continents.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/whats-on/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year/

Monkey Business

  • 9 December 2016 — 23 April 2017

Primates are our closest living relatives. More than just monkeys, this extraordinary exhibition explores the diversity of primates from the tiny mouse lemur to the mighty gorilla, examining their key characteristics and how they have evolved and adapted over time.

Monkey Business features more than 50 spectacular new taxidermy specimens and articulated skeletons of monkeys, apes, lemurs, lorises and bushbabies, alongside models, engaging interactives, stunning photography and film. Visitors can discover how different primates move and communicate, how they’ve developed tools to get hold of food and how their complex social systems work. The exhibition will also examine the relationship between humans and primates, including the ways in which many species are threatened with extinction through the impact of habitat loss and hunting.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Admission charge applies

Website

http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/whats-on/monkey-business/

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
POP-UP Duets

Janis Claxton Dance presents POP-UP Duets (fragments of love)

  • 28 August 2016 3:30-4:20pm *on now

Award-winning choreographer Janis Claxton and composer Pippa Murphy join forces with a team of world-class dancers for a series of short, multi site-specific performances choreographed specifically for public spaces. Based around the theme of love, the duets will 'pop up' throughout the museum this August.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.nms.ac.uk/duets

Free Fringe Music

Free Fringe Music

  • 28 August 2016 2-2:40pm *on now

Experience the joy of live music at the museum. From bold brass to fabulous fiddlers, our daily performances showcase the best contemporary talents from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.

This year’s programme is inspired by the museum’s spectacular exhibition Celts, organised with the British Museum.

In association with Live Music Now.

For more information and programme details, visit www.nms.ac.uk/fringe

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free (drop-in)

Website

http://www.nms.ac.uk/fringe

Hunterston brooch

Scotland and Celtic Identity

  • 10 September 2016 2-4:30pm

Can we say that Scotland is a Celtic nation? Join us for an engaging panel discussion on Scotland and Celtic identity chaired by Scottish journalist and author Neal Ascherson. This event will explore the history of our national, cultural and linguistic identities and their resonance for those in Britain, Ireland and the global Celtic diaspora.

In association with The University of Edinburgh’s Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£10, £8 members and concessions

Website

http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/whats-on/scotland-and-celtic-identity/

A replica carnyx

Glenmorangie Annual Lecture: Mouthpiece of the Gods

  • 12 September 2016 7-8:15pm

Join musician John Kenny, alongside silversmith John Creed and curator Dr Fraser Hunter as they discuss the Carnyx at The Glenmorangie Annual Lecture. Discover how this animal-headed Celtic horn was discovered, forgotten and eventually reconstructed in an event that is part recital, part lecture and part detective story.

Supported by The Glenmorangie Company.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Cost: £6, £5 Members and Concessions, age 18+.

Website

http://nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/whats-on/glenmorangie-annual-lecture/

Charlotte Church will headline an evening of Celtic-influenced music, poetry, film, animation, drama and dance at the National Museum of Scotland, devised by ‘Scotland’s favourite avant-garde noisemakers’ Neu! Reekie! 	 Performing with her ten piece band Charlotte Church & The Late Night Pop Dungeon - will headline this one-off event to bring the Museum’s much acclaimed Celts exhibition to a close.  The Welsh pop sensation will be joined by Liz Lochhead, Scotland's much loved poet and former Makar, plus Scots indie popsters Ette, fronted by Teen Canteen singer Carla Easton, whose debut album was released last month to much critical acclaim.  Reacting, responding and inspired Celts, Neu! Reekie! will take over 5 different spaces within and outside the National Museum of Scotland to stage a range of artistic happenings that include music, dance, poetry & spoken word, animation and performance art.

Neu! Reekie! Celts

  • 23 September 2016 7:30-10:30pm

Charlotte Church will headline an evening of Celtic-influenced music, poetry, film, animation, drama and dance at the National Museum of Scotland, devised by ‘Scotland’s favourite avant-garde noisemakers’ Neu! Reekie!

Performing with her ten piece band Charlotte Church & The Late Night Pop Dungeon - will headline this one-off event to bring the Museum’s much acclaimed Celts exhibition to a close.

The Welsh pop sensation will be joined by Liz Lochhead, Scotland's much loved poet and former Makar, plus Scots indie popsters Ette, fronted by Teen Canteen singer Carla Easton, whose debut album was released last month to much critical acclaim.

Reacting, responding and inspired Celts, Neu! Reekie! will take over 5 different spaces within and outside the National Museum of Scotland to stage a range of artistic happenings that include music, dance, poetry & spoken word, animation and performance art.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Early Bird Tickets £16, £14 Members and Concessions
Full price tickets £20, £18 Members and Concessions

Website

http://www.nms.ac.uk/neureekie

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Discover Celts and Romans at Birnie

http://www.nms.ac.uk/ironage_scotland

Explore an Iron Age power centre uncovered during archaeological digs at Birnie (North Scotland), and find out why this site was important to both the Celts and the Romans.

Discovery Zones

Get your hands on history in our Discovery Zones. Follow a Viking journey, fire a medieval catapult of dress up in 16th century style!

How to obtain

Our free Discovery Zones are located on Levels 0,
1, 3 and 5. Ask a member of staff for more information!

Robert Burns: To a Mouse Family Footprints Trail

A new museum trail for families exploring one of Burns’ famous poems through exhibits in our Scottish collections.
Available from the Info Zone Level 3 Grand Gallery Balcony or download from our website.
Supported by Scotland’s Winter Festivals

Getting there

A number of buses go via the city centre and stop outside the museum on Chambers Street, or nearby on George IV Bridge and South Bridge. Single and day tickets are available. Lothian Buses’ family DAYticket allows two adults and up to three children unlimited travel together on day services. Visit the Lothian Buses website for further information.

During the summer there is a special weekend bus, Service 9 , that runs between the National Museum of Scotland and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street
Edinburgh
Lothian
EH1 1JF
Scotland

Website

www.nms.ac.uk

E-mail

info@nms.ac.uk

Telephone

0300 123 6789

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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