Welcome to the Scottish Museums Web Site

Scotland is a country steeped in history and tradition. It´s therefore not surprising that it plays host to some of the UK´s most important and popular museums.

Stretching the breadth and depth of the country, the number of museums open to the public is over two-hundred and sixty-five.

National Treasures

National museums, of which there are five in Scotland (National Museum of Scotland, National War Museum, National Museum of Flight, National Museum of Rural Life and National Museums Collection Centre) are funded by central government through the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. These institutions are generally accepted as being custodians to some of the UK´s most valued national treasures.

The most popular in terms of visitor numbers is the National Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh. The building welcomed over 1.8 million visitors in 2012, following completion of a £47 million refurbishment the previous summer.

National Trust for Scotland

The National Trust for Scotland, an independent charity that survives from public donations, owns three museums in Scotland. The Angus Folk Museum at Forfar, Hugh Miller´s Birthplace Cottage & Museum at Cromarty and the previously mentioned National Museum of Rural Life which it runs as a partnership with National Museums Scotland.

One of Scotland´s newest museums is the Riverside Museum in Glasgow, a brand new development of the Glasgow Museum of Transport. Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, it opened its doors to visitors in 2011, with over 1 million people viewing the 3000 objects on show in its first year.

Centres of Learning

A number of universities including, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St. Andrews also play host to museums.

This includes Scotland´s oldest museum; the Huntarian. Founded in 1807 and part of the University of Glasgow, the Huntarian is considered to be one of Scotland´s most important cultural assets and is home to many significant historical items, including the largest single collection of work by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Private Museums

It´s not all about large institutions though. Scotland is also home to some of the UK´s most popular privately run museums. Being mainly self funded, smaller museums often rely on charging a small entry fee in order to survive.

Sadly, the economic downturn has caused a number of these museums to close and many others are fighting for their survival, so the recently announced £500,000 upgrade fund will come as a welcome boost to the 24 organisations that will benefit from it. These include the Glencoe and North Lorn Folk Museum and the Grampian Transport Museum.

A Family Day Out.

With entry to most national and university museums free to the public, a day at one of Scotland´s museums is not only cheap, it´s also an informative and educational experience for the whole family.

We´ve put together a comprehensive list of Scottish museums, allowing our visitors a glimpse of what they can expect to see should they choose to visit one of Scotland´s many and varied museums.