At National Museums Scotland, we care for collections of national and international importance, preserving them, interpreting them and making them accessible to as many people as possible.

We work with museums and communities across Scotland and beyond, introducing our collections to a much wider audience than can physically visit our museums, through partnerships, research, touring exhibitions, community engagement, digital programmes and loans.

Our museums

In 2015-2016 we welcomed 2.4 million visitors to our four museum sites: the National Museum of Scotland and National War Museum, in Edinburgh, the National Museum of Flight, in East Lothian and the National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride.

Collections and research

Our collections are a legacy which we look after on behalf of everyone in Scotland. Our wealth of objects represent everything from Scottish and classical archaeology to applied arts and design; from world cultures and social history to science, technology and the natural world.

The National Museums Collection Centre, in Edinburgh, is home to millions of items not currently on display. It also houses state-of-the-art facilities for conservation, taxidermy and academic research.

Through our research, we aim to explain the significance of the millions of objects in our care to a wider audience. How we interpret our collections can increase public understanding of human history and the natural environment.

Exhibitions and events

Through major international exhibitions we bring cultural treasures from around the world to Scotland and help tell the significant stories within our own collections.  Over 216,000 people took part in our packed event programme in 2012-2013. From our annual Airshow to events held in partnership with Edinburgh’s Festivals; from lectures, re-enactments and concerts to our award-winning after-hours Lates: our learning programme brings history, science and the arts to life.

Schools programme

School children from across Scotland experience days of discovery across our sites, with more than 65,000 school visits enjoyed every year. Many more pupils engage with our objects and exhibitions through live broadcasts with Education Scotland’s GLOW TV and through our  shared learning resources. Find out more about our schools programme here.

National and international

Innovative ways to connect with audiences across Scotland lie at the heart of our national programmes. Our outreach programme widens access to our collections, through projects tailored to meet the needs and interests of diverse groups across Scotland.

From touring exhibitions to creative collaborations, our partnership work across the UK brings our collections to a much wider audience than can physically visit our museums. By working overseas we are extending Scotland's international profile and developing knowledge of our collections far beyond our walls.

Services and expertise

Our dedicated staff possess a wealth of expertise across a wide range of fields, and through our knowledge exchange programme we provide free advice, training and support to museums across Scotland.

Loans to local venues enhance regional collections and mean more people than ever can enjoy our objects. Our international loans programme helps introduce our collections to audiences who might never visit our museums, and brings treasures from around the globe to our shores.

Find out more

You can find out more about our vision and values and how National Museums Scotland is run here.

Back to top