National Museum of Scotland

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National Museums Scotland was formed by Act of Parliament in 1985, amalgamating the former National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland and The Royal Scottish Museum. The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, was formed in 2006 with the merger of the new Museum of Scotland, with collections relating to Scottish antiquities, culture and history, and the adjacent Royal Museum (so renamed in 1995), with collections covering science and technology, natural history, and world cultures.

National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland

The two buildings retain distinctive characters: the Museum of Scotland is housed in a modern building opened in 1998, while the former Royal Museum building was begun in 1861, and partially opened in 1866, with a Victorian Romanesque Revival facade and a grand central hall of cast iron construction that rises the full height of the building. This building underwent a major refurbishment and reopened on 29 July 2011 after a three year, £47 million project to restore and extend the building led by Gareth Hoskins Architects along with the concurrent redesign of the exhibitions by Ralph Appelbaum Associates.

National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum incorporates the collections of the former National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, and the Royal Museum. As well as the main national collections of Scottish archaeological finds and medieval objects, the museum contains artefacts from around the world, encompassing geology, archaeology, natural history, science, technology and art. The 16 new galleries reopened in 2011 include 8,000 objects, 80 per cent of which were not formerly on display.

National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland

One of the more notable exhibits is the stuffed body of Dolly the sheep, the first successful clone of a mammal from an adult cell. Other highlights include Ancient Egyptian exhibitions, one of Elton John's extravagant suits and a large kinetic sculpture named the Millennium Clock. A Scottish invention that is a perennial favourite with school parties is The Maiden, an early form of guillotine.

National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland

The galleries in the newer building present Scottish history in an essentially chronological arrangement, beginning at the lowest level with prehistory to the early medieval period, with later periods on the higher levels. The Victorian building, as reopened in 2011, contains four zones (each with numerous galleries), covering natural history, world cultures (including galleries on the South Pacific, East Asia, and Ancient Egypt), European art and design, and science & technology.

National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland

The Grand Gallery contains a variety of large objects from the collections, with a display called the "Window on the World" rising through four storeys, or about 20 metres, containing over 800 objects reflecting the breadth of the collections. Beyond the Grand Gallery at ground level is the "Discoveries" gallery, with objects connected to "remarkable Scots ... in the fields of invention, exploration and adventure".

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