Official Guide to Edinburgh
  • 11°C

10 unmissable finds in the National Museum of Scotland's new galleries

29 June 2016

On 8 July, the National Museum of Scotland opens the doors to ten fabulous new galleries of art, design, fashion, science and technology. There are thousands of things to see, so to help you plan your big day out in the museum take a look at our essential viewing and doing list:

1. Dolly the sheep

Possibly the most famous sheep in the world, Dolly has had a shampoo and a blow-dry and is back in the limelight. Dolly became a pioneer of science as the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell in 1996 and is one of the stars of the new Explore gallery.

2. Armour-plated tunic by Paco Rabanne

Anything seemed possible in 1967, with frontiers opening up in music, fashion and of course space travel. This iconic design, which pushed the boundaries of what was considered wearable at the time, came to define Rabanne’s signature approach. We can only guess what Paco’s Ma would have thought of it!

3. Formula 1 car simulator

The sight of three Formula 1 cars, driven by some of Scotland’s most successful racing drivers, may induce a hankering for speed. You can put the pedal to the metal and almost feel the G force in the racing simulator, built into the cockpit of a real F1 car.

4. Hamilton Palace wall panels

Hamilton Palace was one of the grandest houses ever built in Scotland but was lost forever when it was demolished in the 1920s. Now, for the first time in almost a century, you’ll be able to see the reconstructed oak panelling which once lined the lavish Palace drawing room and admire the portraits of the 8th and 10th Dukes of Hamilton – reunited after all these years.

5. Giant energy wheel

As if walking around ten new galleries wasn’t enough exercise, you can work up a sweat in the Energise gallery on our giant energy wheel. See if you can generate enough electricity to power up the lights!

6. Cromartie ivories

A recent addition to the museum’s collection, these exquisite ivory carvings were made over 300 years ago by French sculptor David Le Marchand. On the run from Louis XIV, Le Marchand was allowed to set up shop in Edinburgh on the condition he passed on his skills by taking on Scottish apprentices.

7. In-Flight aircraft panorama

Yes, there are real planes suspended in flight inside the vast atrium of the Explore gallery, five in fact. From Percy Pilcher’s Hawk (Britain’s first aircraft and the cause of poor Percy’s demise) to a nifty Piper Tomahawk from 1979. Now how on earth did they get those planes in there?

8. The Triumph of Prudence tapestry

You’ll lose yourself gazing at the details depicted in this vast tapestry dedicated to one of the seven virtues, which dominates an entire wall of the Art of Living gallery. Hand-woven in the 1520s, its recent restoration makes it glow like it was created yesterday.

9. Victorian working models

Long before electronic touch screens came along, the Victorians had worked out how best to show the great mechanical and engineering feats of their age. The solution was working scale model replicas, built with painstaking skill in the museum’s workshop. Lovingly restored, these models easily retain their original appeal today.

10. New mobile experiences


The power of hand-held technology has been harnessed to help you get more out of your visit, both within the museum and beyond through two specially created experiences for phones and tablets. Mode will allow you to get closer to the world-class fashion collection and Gen lets you discover more about health and medical diagnosis.

Of course this list barely scratches the surface of what’s on offer in the National Museum of Scotland’s new galleries. To discover how one of Scotland’s biggest attractions just got bigger, take a trip to Chambers Street on Friday 8 July for the grand opening from 9.45am.

This content is sponsored by the National Museum of Scotland.

Get lost in Edinburgh's marvellous museums >