National Museum of Scotland

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National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF
  • Box office 0300 123 6789
  • General enquiries 0300 123 6789
  • Opening times 10am–4.30pm.
  • Email
  • Website
Photo of National Museum of Scotland
Covid-19 precautions

A range of new safety measures have been put in place in line with Scottish Government guidelines. This includes enhanced cleaning, hand sanitising stations and one-way routes in certain areas of the museum where physical distancing is not possible. In line with Scottish Government guidelines, face coverings must be worn. Please do not visit the museum if you or anyone in your household has any symptoms of Coronavirus.

We want you to have a safe and enjoyable visit. During your visit, we ask you to:

Wear a face covering. Please keep your distance from others (2m). Follow the directional signage. Use the hand sanitiser provided. Wash your hands often. Please note card payments only.

Any questions? Our Visitor Experience team will be delighted to help.
Last updated: 24 December 2020

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In its landmark building, occupying more than half of Chambers Street, the National Museum of Scotland was formerly two different museums – the Royal Museum, built in 1861, and the more modern Museum of Scotland, completed in 1998. The facilities were unified in April 2008, although there is still a definite thematic separation: the former Royal Museum (complete with its grand Victorian Hall) has a worldwide and natural history focus, while the newer building maintains a distinctly Scottish viewpoint. Between the two is an interactive technology zone, filled with exhibits that form an easy connection between education and fun for children. They can race in a Formula 1 simulation, operate robotic arms and moon buggies, and discover the science behind solar and rock power. Dolly the Sheep also inhabits this space, as does the full-size Wylam Dilly locomotive. At the top of the spherical sandstone tower at the George IV Bridge end of the building is the Tower Restaurant, which has made a name for itself as a fantastic example of fine dining in the capital.

Fire your imagination at the National Museum of Scotland, one of the UK’s top 10 visitor attractions. Our diverse collections 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.

Please note: spaces with a high number of interactive displays and high-touch areas, such as the Imagine, Explore and Adventure Planet galleries, are temporarily closed for your safety.

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  • Provides: Free wi-fi

Events at this venue

There are 3 events at this location

Sorted by title / date & time

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Galloway Hoard

The Galloway Hoard brings together the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland. It is of international significance and will transform our understanding of this period of Scottish history.

Sat 27 Feb

Exhibition Gallery 1, Level 3

Free / 0300 123 6789

Sun 28 Feb

Exhibition Gallery 1, Level 3

Free / 0300 123 6789

Mon 1 Mar

Exhibition Gallery 1, Level 3

Free / 0300 123 6789

…and 69 more dates until 9 May

Japanese Contemporary Design

From delicately-carved porcelain to bold statement jewellery, discover how contemporary Japanese artists are challenging preconceptions and using traditional Japanese materials and techniques in new and innovative ways.

Wed 3 Mar

Level 1

Free / 0300 123 6789

Thu 4 Mar

Level 1

Free / 0300 123 6789

Fri 5 Mar

Level 1

Free / 0300 123 6789

…and 163 more dates until 15 Aug

New Thinking, New Collecting

This display highlights a small selection from our Scottish History & Archaeology collections, showing how research and collecting at National Museums Scotland is reshaping understandings of Scotland in the past, and reflecting the Scotland of today for future generations of museum visitors.

Sat 27 Feb

Hawthorden court

Free / 0300 123 6789

Sun 28 Feb

Hawthorden court

Free / 0300 123 6789

Mon 1 Mar

Hawthorden court

Free / 0300 123 6789

…and 91 more dates until 31 May

Reviews & features

Five of the most unusual objects from the National Museum of Scotland's new galleries

6 Mar 2019

Highlights from the Ancient Egypt, East Asia and Ceramics galleries

Three new galleries have recently opened at the National Museum of Scotland, which aim to provide new and engaging displays of internationally significant material. These galleries, dedicated to Ancient Egypt, East Asia and the Art of Ceramics, include…

Enjoy a family fun day out at the Fringe

10 Jul 2018

Grab a bite to eat, chill out at the Circus Hub and catch a world-class show

Planning a day out at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe can be a daunting task – with a massive 3,548 shows in 317 venues across an entire city, you may not know where to start. Add kids into that equation and it can feel like mission impossible.

Ten new galleries open at the National Museum of Scotland

6 Jul 2016

Major redevelopment of the Edinburgh attraction dedicated to science, technology, art, design and fashion

Following a £14.1 million redevelopment the National Museum of Scotland is set to open ten new galleries on Friday 8 July. The latest phase in a planned £80 redevelopment of the iconic museum in the heart of Edinburgh.

The Best Activities for Kids and Families in Edinburgh

3 Mar 2015

Places to go and things to do in Auld Reekie

Visitors have been climbing to the top of Camera Obscura’s rooftop chamber for over 150 years, so they must be doing something right. Up there, you can view Edinburgh through a giant periscope, ‘pick up’ a bus or person on a piece of paper, and learn…

Preview: the National Museum of Scotland

22 Jul 2011

A peek inside the museum, plus reminiscences from notable Edinburghers and a guide to coming events

The National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street is due to reopen this month after a three-year, £46.4 million redevelopment. David Pollock takes an exclusive peak behind closed doors to find out about the new exhibits

The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

16 Feb 2011

Newly renovated NMS showcases Scottish achievements

A country with as many scientists, inventors and explorers as Scotland needs a place to show off all its achievements – and nowhere does the job better than the newly renovated National Museum

National Museum of Scotland to celebrate start of renovations

24 Apr 2008

The National Museum of Scotland will celebrate the start of the £46.4m Royal Museum Project renovations with a weekend of entertainment. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers will headline the event, which runs from Sat 26–Sun 27 Apr. See

Welcome back to the National Museums of Scotland

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