The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced its initial support for the next phase of the Masterplan to transform the National Museum of Scotland.

The award will enable National Museums Scotland to create two new galleries to open in 2018/19. The two galleries will showcase internationally important Ancient Egypt and East Asian collections.

This project will be the fourth and final phase of a 15 year Masterplan designed to transform the National Museum of Scotland. Phase by phase the Masterplan is restoring one of the UK’s finest Victorian buildings, revealing remarkable treasures, and creating inspiring learning experiences to engage yet more visitors.

Examples of the outstanding collections that will be displayed in the new galleries include: the Qurna burial, the only intact royal burial group outside of Egypt; a statue dedicated to King Snefru, who built the first true pyramid; a bodhisattva in gilt bronze from 15th to 17th century China, and a rotating selection from the group of 4,000 Japanese woodblock prints owned by National Museums Scotland. 

  • Female coffin: an exceptionally tall coffin with decoration in the rishi-style. The lid has feathered patterning painted in blue with black details on a yellow ground. The owner’s face is framed by a striped linen nemes-cloth, a beaded collar with falcon terminals, and a vulture-pectoral.

    Female coffin: an exceptionally tall coffin with decoration in the rishi-style. The lid has feathered patterning painted in blue with black details on a yellow ground. The owner’s face is framed by a striped linen nemes-cloth, a beaded collar with falcon terminals, and a vulture-pectoral.
  • Gold Shebyu collar: consisting of four rows of gold rings threaded on a pad of fibre.

    Gold Shebyu collar: consisting of four rows of gold rings threaded on a pad of fibre.
  • Figurine of a hedghog in a marching pose, made of blue faience with the quills indicated by brown flecks: Ancient Egyptian, Middle Kingdom.

     Figurine of a hedghog in a marching pose, made of blue faience with the quills indicated by brown flecks: Ancient Egyptian, Middle Kingdom.
  • A.1914.1079 Pendant of gold depicting an “upside-down catfish”, with an unknown core (possibly copper alloy) and a ring for suspension in its mouth: Ancient Egyptian, excavated by Petrie in Tomb 72 in Harageh Cemetery A, Late Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, c.1862-1750 BC .

     A.1914.1079 Pendant of gold depicting an “upside-down catfish”, with an unknown core (possibly copper alloy) and a ring for suspension in its mouth: Ancient Egyptian, excavated by Petrie in Tomb 72 in Harageh Cemetery A, Late Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, c.1862-1750 BC .
  • Coffin of the estate overseer Khnumhotep, son of Nebtu, made of wood painted white with three horizontal yellow mummy bands and the face gilded: Ancient Egyptian, from Deir Rifeh, Middle Kingdom, second half of the 12th Dynasty, c.1940-1760 BC.

    Coffin of the estate overseer Khnumhotep, son of Nebtu, made of wood painted white with three horizontal yellow mummy bands and the face gilded: Ancient Egyptian, from Deir Rifeh, Middle Kingdom, second half of the 12th Dynasty, c.1940-1760 BC.
  • One of sixteen pottery mould-made shabtis contained in a rectangular shabti box made of wood: Ancient Egyptian, Late Period.

    One of sixteen pottery mould-made shabtis contained in a rectangular shabti box made of wood: Ancient Egyptian, Late Period.
  • Footboard of wood, from cartonnage coffin or mummy-case, depicting the Apis bull carrying the mummy of the deceased, named as Pamiu, striding over the desert towards a pyramidal tomb: Ancient Egyptian, from Thebes, Upper Egypt, 3rd Intermediate Period, 22nd Dynasty, Osorkon III, 790-762 BC.

    Footboard of wood, from cartonnage coffin or mummy-case, depicting the Apis bull carrying the mummy of the deceased, named as Pamiu, striding over the desert towards a pyramidal tomb: Ancient Egyptian, from Thebes, Upper Egypt, 3rd Intermediate Period, 22nd Dynasty, Osorkon III, 790-762 BC.
  • Painted wooden statuette of a ba-bird, with the body in the form of a falcon and the head in human form: Ancient Egyptian, probably from Akhmim, Late Period.

    Painted wooden statuette of a ba-bird, with the body in the form of a falcon and the head in human form: Ancient Egyptian, probably from Akhmim, Late Period.
  • Wreath of twelve gold-foil leaves attached to a ring of copper, found on the mummy of Montsuef: Ancient Egyptian, excavated by A.H. Rhind in the tomb of Montsuef at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes, Early Roman Period, c9 BC.

    Wreath of twelve gold-foil leaves attached to a ring of copper, found on the mummy of Montsuef: Ancient Egyptian, excavated by A.H. Rhind in the tomb of Montsuef at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes, Early Roman Period, c9 BC.
  • Statuette in bronze of Osiris, standing mummiform with Atef-crown and sceptres, and with seperate wooden base: Ancient Egyptian, from Saqqara, Lower Egypt, Late Dynastic Period, 664-332 BC.

    Statuette in bronze of Osiris, standing mummiform with Atef-crown and sceptres, and with seperate wooden base: Ancient Egyptian, from Saqqara, Lower Egypt, Late Dynastic Period, 664-332 BC.
  • Lid for an anthropoid wooden coffin, plastered and painted, of a child, Tairtsekher, daughter of Irtnefret: Ancient Egyptian, possibly from Deir el-Medina, New Kingdom, early 19th Dynasty, c.1292-1200 BC.

    Lid for an anthropoid wooden coffin, plastered and painted, of a child, Tairtsekher, daughter of Irtnefret: Ancient Egyptian, possibly from Deir el-Medina, New Kingdom, early 19th Dynasty, c.1292-1200 BC.
  • Mummy-mask of gilded and painted linen and plaster cartonnage, depicting Montsuef wearing a lappet-wig: Ancient Egyptian, excavated by A.H. Rhind in the tomb of Montsuef at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes, Early Roman Period, c.9BC.

    Mummy-mask of gilded and painted linen and plaster cartonnage, depicting Montsuef wearing a lappet-wig: Ancient Egyptian, excavated by A.H. Rhind in the tomb of Montsuef at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes, Early Roman Period, c.9BC.
  • Stela in wood covered with gesso, round topped and painted showing a woman kneeling before Re-Horakhty, split in half and repaired: Ancient Egyptian, from Thebes, Upper Egypt, late 22nd Dynasty, Third Intermediate Period.

    Stela in wood covered with gesso, round topped and painted showing a woman kneeling before Re-Horakhty, split in half and repaired: Ancient Egyptian, from Thebes, Upper Egypt, late 22nd Dynasty, Third Intermediate Period.
  • Votive statuette in the form of an ibis, the body made of calcite and the head and legs of bronze: Ancient Egyptian, Late Period.

    Votive statuette in the form of an ibis, the body made of calcite and the head and legs of bronze: Ancient Egyptian, Late Period.
  • Box of cedar wood with ebony veneers and ivory inlays and gilding depicting the god Bes and bearing the cartouches of Amenhotep II: Ancient Egyptian, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c.1550-1295 BC.

    Box of cedar wood with ebony veneers and ivory inlays and gilding depicting the god Bes and bearing the cartouches of Amenhotep II: Ancient Egyptian, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c.1550-1295 BC.


The final phase of the Masterplan will create two new galleries: Ancient Egypt Rediscovered and Exploring East Asia. These will display material from some of the most important civilisations in human history through artefacts that are amongst the finest of their kind. While the Egyptian gallery will show many previously unseen treasures from the national collections, the East Asia gallery will explore China, Japan and Korea with a host of important, beautiful and thought provoking objects. The galleries will invite visitors to reinterpret the familiar and explore the unknown. They will include a range of innovative digital experiences and be supported by an extensive learning programme, deepening engagement for students and visitors of all ages.

  • Early 19th century suit of Samurai armour.

    Early 19th century suit of Samurai armour.
  • Inro or medicine case of mirror-black lacquered wood, with four compartments, decorated with a rising sun and a tortoise in gold: Japan, by Yamada Jokasai, 19th century.

    Inro or medicine case of mirror-black lacquered wood, with four compartments, decorated with a rising sun and a tortoise in gold: Japan, by Yamada Jokasai, 19th century.
  • Netsuke of carved ivory, a hare, signed: Japan, by Tomotada.

    Netsuke of carved ivory, a hare, signed: Japan, by Tomotada.
  • Cup of stoneware, with a high perforated foot, and a hematite covered interior, excavated in Nara Prefecture, Japan: Korea, Three Kingdoms period, 5th - 6th century AD.

    Cup of stoneware, with a high perforated foot, and a hematite covered interior, excavated in Nara Prefecture, Japan: Korea, Three Kingdoms period, 5th - 6th century AD.
  • Bowl of imperial yellow glass, one of a pair: China, Qianlong period.

    Bowl of imperial yellow glass, one of a pair: China, Qianlong period.
  • Moon flask of carved red lacquer on a porcelain body, decorated on both sides with a landscape: China, Qing dynasty, late 19th century.

    Moon flask of carved red lacquer on a porcelain body, decorated on both sides with a landscape: China, Qing dynasty, late 19th century.
  • Vase of cloisonne enamel on copper, in colours with fishes among lotus and other aquatic plants, and border of interlocking dragon strapwork design round neck, probable original lid now missing: China, Ming dynasty, 16th century.

    Vase of cloisonne enamel on copper, in colours with fishes among lotus and other aquatic plants, and border of interlocking dragon strapwork design round neck, probable original lid now missing: China, Ming dynasty, 16th century.
  • Lotus-shaped cup and stand of stoneware, decorated with inlaid designs in white and brown slip under a blue-green glaze: Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, 918 - 1392 AD.

    Lotus-shaped cup and stand of stoneware, decorated with inlaid designs in white and brown slip under a blue-green glaze: Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, 918 - 1392 AD.
  • Young woman's robe (furisode), of rep silk with design of maple branches above a festival curtain, outlined with couched gold thread, with padded hem and red silk lining, possibly for wedding ceremony: Japan, 1868-1900.

    Young woman's robe (furisode), of rep silk with design of maple branches above a festival curtain, outlined with couched gold thread, with padded hem and red silk lining, possibly for wedding ceremony: Japan, 1868-1900.
  • Painting on silk, Illustration of an Imperial First Rank Concubine's Winter Court Robe No. 2, from the "Huangchao liqi tushi" (Illustrations of Imperial Ritual Paraphernalia): China, Qing dynasty, c. 1760-1766.

    Painting on silk, Illustration of an Imperial First Rank Concubine's Winter Court Robe No. 2, from the "Huangchao liqi tushi" (Illustrations of Imperial Ritual Paraphernalia): China, Qing dynasty, c. 1760-1766.
  • Ceramic figure of a happy worker, one of a set of nine figures depicting different Chinese national minorities, the group of six dancers and musicians and three happy workers was intended to show the contentment of the minorities with New China: China, c1960- 65.

    Ceramic figure of a happy worker, one of a set of nine figures depicting different Chinese national minorities, the group of six dancers and musicians and three happy workers was intended to show the contentment of the minorities with New China: China, c1960- 65.
  • Porcelain figure group entitled Looking up to Mao, with brocade-covered storage box: China, Jingdezhen, 1972-74.

    Porcelain figure group entitled Looking up to Mao, with brocade-covered storage box: China, Jingdezhen, 1972-74.


In conjunction with the two new galleries, an extensive national programme is being developed to increase access to the collections across Scotland. These will provide a range of activities, loans and outreach activity to extend knowledge of these fascinating collections beyond the walls of the Museum, to local communities across the country.

Explore our collections

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Ancient Egyptian collection

National Museums Scotland’s Ancient Egyptian collection comprises around 6,000 items. Explore its rich treasures here.
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Discovering Japan

From Samurai treasures to tiny netsuke, the National Museum of Scotland has the largest Japanese collection in Scotland.
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Our Chinese collection

From ancient ceramics to imperial jade, oracle bones to propaganda posters, our Chinese collection spans over three thousand years and includes around 9,300 items.
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Our Korean collection

This rich collection focuses mainly on the Joseon period, Korea's last dynasty which lasted over five centuries. However, earlier periods and contemporary works are also represented in a collection that spans over 2,000 years.
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