If you’re looking for museums to occupy your time while you are in Scotland, there is no better place to visit than the National Museum of Scotland. It is consistently ranked as the best museum in Scotland and has lots to offer for anyone interested in learning more about this United Kingdom constituency, and spending a little time out of the cold and picking up some culture.
Situated in Edinburgh, the museum has been open since 1988, and displays over 10000 items that cover art, antiques, jewellery, fashion, science, technology, and weapons, that provide a more in-depth look into Scottish history and culture.
Entrance to the museum is free, although donations are accepted if you feel your experience was worth it. It opens from 10 am to 5 pm and is located on Chambers Street, near the centre of Edinburgh city.
It was opened only a few decades ago, yet the building itself dates back to the nineteenth century and has had many phases to its construction. It was designed by famous engineer Captain Francis Fowke and contains a variety of styles, including Venetian Renaissance, Victorian, and Italian inspirations. The modern section of the building that was opened in 1988, with the rest of the National Museum of Scotland is a more stripped back, and modern kind of style, and is visible from the George IV Bridge and Chambers Street. Almost £47 million was injected into the museum in 2011, seeing a vast revamp and a three-year phase of construction. Since then, the museum has been a highly valued cultural place in Scotland.
The collections are held over six floors, and has over 10000 items, which means you’ll want to spend at least a couple of hours here, if not longer. The collections span such categories as the industrial revolution in Scotland, where you’ll discover the migration of countryside folk to the city, on the fourth and fifth floors. Another collection explores the Kingdom and creation of Scotland, between 900 and 1700, with its emergence in history, and the most famous Scots of the time. Discover the changes through World War I, with objects, videos, and stories on the second floor, to illuminate a time of a changing nation, and how Scottish people came through; and prehistoric Scotland, all about the natural landscape, and the very first settlers of the country.
Since the entrance is free, you are able to select which areas interest you the most, and even come back on other days. The National Museum is arranged in chronological order, from the ground floor to the sixth floor, so if there are any periods you are uninterested in, you can just skip ahead. The amount of information may be quite overwhelming all in one visit. The museum’s collections are assembled together on the six stories depending on the various periods, and you can even venture onto the terrace on the seventh floor, where you will capture one of the best views of Edinburgh in the city; an excellent photo opportunity for sure!