National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street




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.
Main entrance, National Museum of Scotland c Andrew Lee
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The National Museum of Scotland is one of the Top 10 UK visitor attractions, and in the Top 20 most visited museums and galleries in the world.

Fresh from a £47m redevelopment, the museum houses a spectacular array of over 20,000 fascinating artefacts. Explore the diversity of the natural world, art and design, world culture, science and technology, and Scottish history, all under one roof.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Daily 10.00 - 17.00

Admission charges

Admission free

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.

Ming: The Golden Empire

  • 27 June — 19 October 2014 *on now

Discover the extraordinary story of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), a period of China’s history marked by economic strength and a dramatic flourishing of the arts.

Meaning brilliant or bright, the Ming era represents the starting point of modern China. A collection of original artefacts from the Nanjing Museum, including Chinese National Treasures, introduce key aspects of the Ming dynasty, focussing on the remarkable cultural, technological and economic achievements of the period. This will be the only UK showing of this internationally significant exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Image of the 4th South African Infantry (South African Scottish)

Common Cause: Commonwealth Scots and the Great War

  • 11 July — 12 October 2014 *on now

In 1914, as the world prepared for war, thousands of men enlisted in Scotland. But thousands more Scots and those of Scottish descent joined up across the world, and the exhibition will show how they emphasised, adapted or in some cases downplayed their Scottish identities within the context of the armed forces of their home countries.

The exhibition will be built around key objects borrowed from the UK and international partners in Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, some of the main destination countries of the Scottish diaspora

This exhibition is supported by the International Division, Scottish Government and is part of the Year of Homecoming Scotland 2014.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Danie Mellor’s Primordial: SuperNaturalBayiMinyjirral

  • 1 August — 23 November 2014 *on now

Inspired by objects from National Museums Scotland’s World Cultures Collection, acclaimed contemporary Australian artist Danie Mellor presents sculpture and work on paper that explores his own indigenous and European heritage. With works focusing on fauna, Aboriginal life and landscape, and science and exploration, alongside technical references to European art, Mellor’s work is uniquely relevant to the breadth of National Museums Scotland’s collections.

Presented by National Museums Scotland and the Edinburgh International Festival. With the support of Michael Reid, Sydney, Australia.

Game Masters

  • 5 December 2014 — 19 April 2015

The exhibition explores the development of videogames through interviews with game designers, rare original game artwork and interactives, as well as looking forward to how independently produced games are leading the way in design, aesthetics and game play.

The exhibition commences with Arcade Heroes,which focuses on the seminal arcade games of the late 1970s and early 1980s and spotlights pioneering designers such as Shigeru Miyamoto (Donkey Kong), Tomohiro Nishikado (Space Invaders), Ed Logg (Asteroids), and Toru Iwatani (Pac-Man).

The nature of gaming changed as it moved from the arcade to the home computer, console and handheld devices. Key designers whose work embodies these ‘game-changing’ transitions include Yuji Naka and the Sonic Team (Sonic the Hedgehog), Nintendo (Super Mario Bros), Blizzard Entertainment (World of Warcraft) and Paulina Bozek (SingStar).

Suitable for

  • Any age
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.

Themed tour

  • 1 June — 31 December 2014 *on now

Looking for a more in-depth experience? We offer a wide range of themed tours. Ask at the information desk or check our website for forthcoming tour titles

Tours leave from the Meeting Point, Entrance Hall, Level 0.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Scottish Galleries highlights tour

  • 1 June — 31 December 2014 *on now

Tours leave from the Meeting Point, Entrance Hall, Level 0
Follow the story of Scotland through fascinating objects on this highlights tour.

Discover the National Museum

  • 1 June — 31 December 2014 *on now

From stunning Victorian architecture to the Lewis Chessmen and Dolly the sheep, this tour will give you a flavour of all the National Museum of Scotland has to offer.

photograph of poppy field

Evening Lecture: The First World War – 100 Years On

  • 25 September 2014 6:30-8pm

Academic, writer and broadcaster Professor Sir Hew Strachan analyses how the fundamental transformation in how wars are fought has influenced how we commemorate conflict.

Followed by Q and A.

Book online or call 0300 123 6789.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 14-15
  • 16-17


Cost: £6.00/£5.00 Members and Concessions, booking required.

photograph of poppy field

The First World War - 100 Years On

  • 25 September 2014 6:30-7:30pm

Academic, writer and broadcaster Professor Sir Hew Strachan analyses how the fundamental transformation in how wars are fought has influenced how we commemorate conflict. Q and A included.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Saturday Showcase: Ming, The Golden Empire

  • 4 October 2014 From 1:30pm

Principal Curator Dr Kevin McLoughlin will look at the growth in book culture during the late Ming, Dr Yupin Chung from Glasgow Museums explores the quest for fine tea in Ming times and Dr Julian Ward from the University of Edinburgh discusses late Ming journeys to China’s Sacred Mountains. Dr Stephen McDowall, from the University of Edinburgh, will chair a panel discussion and audience questions.


Cost: £10/£8 Members and Concessions, includes refreshments. Booking required. Book online or call 0300 123 6789

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

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