National Museums Scotland aims to develop, manage, conserve and interpret the national collections, to ensure their preservation and benefit to the public.

Our fundamental mission is the advancement and dissemination of knowledge and understanding through access to its collections. The following policies guide our continued commitment to these aims and mission. Here you can discover more about our policies and download the full policy documents.

Research Framework

Research is fundamental to the activities of National Museums Scotland. There are two key interlinked aspects of this:

Firstly, museums, especially national museums, have a responsibility to increase knowledge about their collections. In doing so they contribute to increasing and sharing knowledge of our world. National Museums Scotland is committed to undertaking such academic research on its collections. The outcome of this may be disseminated in an academic context or to the public in general.

Secondly, collections-related research is essential in providing knowledge of their wider context and exciting and interesting experiences for the public. All interpretation for the public, whether through exhibitions, publications or digitally, should be underpinned by the best and most up to date knowledge of the collections. Members of the public should also have the opportunity to share in the creativity and excitement at the cutting edge of research.

Our policy sets out the framework for research within the National Museums Scotland. It is intended to encourage scholarship, provide opportunity and thus, enhance our profile.

Download Research Framework Policy [PDF 46KB]

Research Ethics Policy

This framework for the ethical conduct of research within National Museums Scotland is also guided by principles of dignity, respect, selflessness, honesty, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, and leadership. 

The principles apply equally to staff and external researchers and this code forms part of National Museums Scotland policies on staff conduct and research.

Download Research Ethics Policy [PDF 18KB]

Research Themes Policy

Research is a core activity for National Museums Scotland, vital for the good stewardship of our collections and the intellectual development of subject knowledge. Research activity is also a key component in supporting new connections between our collections and the wider public. Through exhibitions, public programmes and publications, we can share knowledge and inform a wide audience.

This document sets out the strategic themes and programme for research within National Museums Scotland. 

Download Research Themes Policy [PDF 75KB]

Collection Development Strategy

This strategy sets out our ambitions, strategic context and over-arching principles and priorities for our collections. It includes an overview of the collections, themes and priorities for future collecting and our legislative, ethical and procedural framework in compliance with the requirements of accreditation, the nationally agreed standard for UK museums.

Download Collection Development Strategy [PDF 157KB]

Collections Care and Conservation Policy

National Museums Scotland aims to achieve an appropriate balance between the use of, access to and preservation of collections. This policy sets out the principles governing our collections care and conservation work.

Download Collections Care and Conservation Policy [PDF 86KB]

Collections Information and Access Policy

This policy sets out the principles by which National Museums Scotland will ensure that there are effective arrangements for collections information management and access to the collections.

Download Collections Information and Access Policy [PDF 89KB]

Human Remains in Collections Policy

This policy identifies collections made from or containing human remains as worthy of special consideration in regard to acquisition, curation and disposal (transfer). It outlines the procedures and processes that will be followed by National Museums Scotland with regard to requests or demands for the permanent transfer of such material from the permanent collection.

Download Human Remains in Collections Policy [PDF 42KB]