At National Museum of Scotland we can help you deliver active, creative, skills-based learning across many different curriculum areas. Be it in art, design and fashion, science and technology, Scottish history, the natural world or cultures and peoples from around the globe - it’s all here under one roof.

Request a visit to the National Museum of Scotland

This booking request form is for UK school groups. If you are planning a visit with an overseas group, please see our overseas school pages.

Request a visit

What options are available for a visit?

Schools can choose to visit the museum as:

  • A self-guided visit
  • A self-guided visit with a handling box
  • A workshop
  • An exhibition visit.

Please select your preferred option when completing the booking request form.

Overseas school groups can find out more information here.

What can my class see and do on a visit to National Museum of Scotland?

Do you run workshops for students?

A full list of workshops is available in the schools programmes and on the website here:

  • Explore the past using real and replica objects in a free, teacher-led object handling session. Sessions led by our enablers are also available.
  • Take part in a workshop or live interpretation sessions led by experienced facilitators – full details of sessions for primary and secondary students can be found in the schools programmes.
  • Primary school pupils can meet Romans, Vikings and Jacobites in a living history session.
  • Secondary school students can engage with contemporary issues reflected by our collections in a conference, debate or workshop.
  • S1 and S2 students can take part in tailor-made curriculum theme days designed for whole-year groups.

Do I need to book in advance?

To ensure your visit runs smoothly, all school visits to the National Museum of Scotland must be booked in advance. Please complete the booking request form here.

How much does a visit cost?

Pre-booked self-led school visits, teacher-led object handling sessions and downloadable resources are free of charge. All other activities cost £70 per class, unless otherwise stated. Maximum class size is 33 students.

Your school will be invoiced after your visit.

What workshops are available?

Details of our workshops and Enabler/Facilitator Led Sessions can be found in our primary and secondary schools programmes.

How long do workshops last and when should we arrive?

  • Workshops last for 75 minutes and Enabler-Led Handling Box sessions for 60 minutes unless otherwise indicated. The duration of all workshops can be found in the schools programmes.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your workshop is due to begin so you can use the toilets and put bags and coats in the cloakroom.
  • You should allow additional time after your workshop if you wish to visit the shop.

Will there be time for us to visit the rest of the museum?

  • We recommend that if you book a morning workshop you visit the galleries after lunch.
  • If you book an afternoon workshop you should visit the galleries before lunch.

Can I download resources for my visit?

You can find all of our self-led trails here, or use one of our packs below.

Romans

What was life like for the Romans in Scotland? How did Scottish people benefit from the arrival of the armies? The collections of the National Museum of Scotland offer pupils the opportunity to find out more about the Romans in Scotland. This teachers' resource pack will help you find your way around the Early People gallery, explore selected ‘star’ objects and engage your class with key artefacts that tell us the story of the Romans in Scotland.

Please note that the Deskford carnyx has been removed to take part in an external exhibition and will be off display until June 2017.

Ancient Egypt

This new trail provides an interactive guide to Ancient Egyptian objects on display throughout the Museum.

Vikings

The Vikings were some of Scotland’s more colourful invaders, arriving dramatically and violently in the 8th century AD.This teachers' resource pack highlights some of the most interesting objects from the Viking displays and uses them to explore four key themes.

This BBC film of the Viking burial in the National Museum of Scotland can also be viewed before or after a visit.

Self-directed photography visits

This guide for teachers and secondary school pupils can be use to explore photography within the National Museum of Scotland.

Toys Trail

This handout, for early years, is for use around our Scotland galleries to explore a range of toys and games.

Victorian Reporter

Become a Victorian Newspaper reporter by using this trail around Levels 4-5 of our Scotland galleries. Suitable for primary pupils.

Braw Scots

Discover ten Scots figures by following this trail around our Scotland galleries, before nominating your own Braw Scot! Suitable for secondary pupils.

A Matter of Life and Death

Find out about some of the more gruesome objects from our collections in this trail around our Scotland galleries. Suitable for secondary pupils.

My World of Work

My World of Work Live! activities are designed to inspire young people’s interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Aimed at upper primary and lower secondary pupils, these Career Challenge trails will take your class on an exciting journey round the museum. They will learn about the skills and subjects required for jobs and find out about the different entry routes available.

Art and Design Trail

Suitable for National Qualification and Higher Art and Design pupils, this trail looks at our Art and Design collections, and is based on exam questions.

Art and Design Trail

How do I book a handling box?

Our free handling boxes contain artefacts and natural world specimens for students to touch and investigate. Handling boxes are available to use every day in the museum, but must be booked in advance. Object handling sessions led by a museum enabler are also available (£70 per class). These sessions also include a gallery safari.

To book, please complete the booking request form. Below is a list of the handling boxes we offer to use in the museum. Click on the links to download the teacher's notes for each box.

Is there parking for our bus/minibus?

There is a coach drop-off point outside the Museum on Chambers Street.

Where can we leave bags and coats?

We have a dedicated schools' cloakroom off the Entrance Hall in the museum. Please let us know when booking if you’d like to use this facility as availability is limited during busy periods.

Where can we eat our lunch?

We have a schools' lunchroom off the Entrance Hall in the museum. You will then be allocated a time slot for using the lunch room.

Is the space we will be visiting fully accessible?

The Learning Centre and galleries are fully accessible via lifts and we have accessible toilets.

You can find full information for visitors with disabilities here.

Do you have a risk assessment we can use?

You can download our guidelines for teachers to help you write your own risk assessment here. Teachers can make a free pre-visit to carry out their risk assessment.

Do you have behaviour guidelines?

Yes and we ask that pupils visiting in school groups are accompanied at all times during their visit. We have developed an agreement which sets out what we aim to offer during your visit, and in return what we ask from you.

Safety guidelines

We will send you full safety guidelines with your booking confirmation. Please check them before your visit. In addition, please read and follow any safety notices and instructions from Visitor Experience staff.

Can I take photographs?

Yes and we may also wish to take photographs of you! Please fill out your photography permission form if requested.

Is there a shop/café?

There is a Museum Shop in the Entrance Hall, Level 0 (please ensure there is a ratio of 1 adult to 10 children when in shop).

There are cafés in the Entrance Hall, Level 1 and on the Balcony of Level 3, overlooking the Grand Gallery.

How do we cancel our visit?

We understand that you may need to cancel or change your booking. Please contact us as soon as possible to let us know of any changes.

National Museums Scotland reserve the right to charge a fee for short notice cancellations. Bookings cancelled:

  • Less than 3 weeks prior to the visit may incur an administration fee of 50% of the value of chargeable events
  • Less than 2 weeks prior to the visit may incur an administration fee of 100% of the value of chargeable events.

Last minute requests to change a visit date may also incur an administration fee as above. In certain circumstances, such as adverse weather conditions, National Museums Scotland may waive the cancellation fee. 

Gallery closures

Our Ancient Egypt and East Asian galleries are currently closed until 2018 as part of a major refurbishment project. Further information on the refurbishment and details of gallery closures can be found here.

Explore more

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Overseas school groups

We welcome overseas school groups to our museums and can offer a wide range of resources.
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Contact us

Tel: 0131 247 4041
schools@nms.ac.uk