National Museum of Scotland

Entrance Hall. The original Victorian basement is now a street-level entrance.


1 January 2012

Chambers Street, Edinburgh

NT 25824 73343; 55.94736°N, 3.18928°W


Construction of an Industrial Museum in Chambers Street in central Edinburgh started in 1861 with Prince Albert laying the foundation stone. The museum was built in phases with the first section opening in 1866 and featuring the four-storey cast-iron Grand Gallery inspired by The Crystal Palace. Construction of the original building was completed in 1888. In 1904 it was renamed the Royal Scottish Museum. In 1985 it merged with the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland in Queen Street and when the latter closed in 1995, the Chambers Street building became the Royal Museum.

In 1998 an adjoining building, modern in design and clad in golden Moray sandstone, was opened to house the Museum of Scotland.

In 2006 the interconnected Royal Museum and Museum of Scotland merged to form the National Museum of Scotland. The Victorian building closed in 2008 and re-opened in July 2011 after a £47m refurbishment. As part of the renovation the vaulted basement below the Grand Gallery was converted into a street-level entrance hall. The museum now has 20,000 objects on display in 36 galleries divided into five thematic collections: the natural world, art and design, science and technology, world cultures, and the history of Scotland.

National Museum of Scotland;
National Museum of Scotland (Wikipedia);
National Museum of Scotland to reopen after £47m refit (BBC News, 28 July 2011)

Corliss Engine, 1923 (the basic design dates back to the 1860s). ‘A single cylinder steam engine built by Douglas & Grant of Kirkaldy, Fife, which powered a weaving mill at Glentana Mill, Alva, Clackmannanshire.’

Grand Gallery. Central feature of the Victorian building, with cast-iron pillars and glass roof.

Stairwell in the modern building

‘Waiting’, Hawthornden Court in the modern building

‘Contemplating’, Hawthornden Court in the modern building

‘Walking’, Hawthornden Court in the modern building

‘Photographing’, Roof Terrace in the modern building. The green dome in the distance is the roof of the Bank of Scotland building. Now part of Lloyds Banking Group, the bank was established by act of the Scottish Parliament in 1695 and was the first in Europe to print its own banknotes.

Edinburgh Castle from the Roof Terrace

5 thoughts on “National Museum of Scotland

  1. Pingback: National Museum of Scotland | GeoTopoi

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