The diverse array of museums in Edinburgh range from a cluster of stunning medieval buildings that straddle the Royal Mile to the extensive grounds of the elegant Laurieston Castle in Edinburgh's western fringes, offering breathtaking views over the Firth of Forth. The museums in Leith, South Queensferry and Newhaven celebrate the heritage of the maritime and fishing communities that continue to thrive in the Forth Estuary suburbs and towns today. Edinburgh's towering cityscape and skyline is adorned with places of cultural significance, including the impressive Scott Monument in the heart of Edinburgh's bustling Princes Street. Each museum has a fascinating story to tell and the majority of Edinburgh City Council Museums are free of charge to the public.
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The stunning collections exhibited, conserved and interpreted by the city's museums eloquently depict Edinburgh's and Scotland's stirring past and never fail to captivate visitors to this remarkable city of contrasting architecture and landscapes. The Museum of Scotland unveils the story of a country of rich cultural heritage that touches many people throughout the world. This stunning museum houses magnificent nationals collections of artifax, illustrations and exhibtions pertaining to the land, the people and the culture of Scotland. The museum is home to some of the nation's most precious treasures and is a spectacular showcase of everyday objects that shine on Scotland through history.
At a local level, The Museum of Edinburgh reveals the history of Edinburgh from prehistoric times to the present day. If you are familiar with the story of ‘Greyfriars Bobby, his collar and feeding bowl are on display accompanied by the original plaster model for the world renowned bronze statue placed in Candlemaker Row in Edinburgh’s Old Town. This spectacular museum is housed in Huntly House facing the Canongate and is undoubtedly one of Edinburgh’s most picturesque buildings dating from the 16th Century.
The Museum of Childhood is a real favourite for both adults and children and when it opened in 1955, it was the first museum of its kind in the world. Dubbed as the world’s nosiest museum, this gem housed in the Royal Mile is jam packed with objects relating to childhood, past and present. The museum has an extensive collections of toys and games from many parts of the world and gives children of today, a clear insight into childhood of the past, how children from previous generations were educated and raised.
A visit to The Writers’ Museum is a captivating and inspiring experience for the literati and the bookish. Situated in Lady Stair’s House in the Lawnmarket, this museum is dedicated to the lives and works of Scotland’s finest writers including Robert Burns (1759 – 1796), Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894). It houses this most significant collection of Robert Louis Stevenson’s works in the United Kingdom and a plethora of other Scottish authors are featured in temporary exhibitions.
Moving away from Edinburgh City Centre, The Heritage Centre in Newhaven, overlooking the harbour on the River Forth allows visitors to discover what it was like to live in a close-knit fishing community as a fishwife or fisherman. The museum showcases interactive displays and reconstructed scenes of fishwives and fishermen at work, an extensive collection of photographs of times gone by in Newhaven as well as featuring a video that focuses on the development of this industrious community from its early days as a naval dockyard through to the present day. The museum is accessible by Lothian Buses 10, 11 and 16 from Princes Street and Lothian Bus service 7 from the Bridges heading northwards.
The list of museums in Edinburgh is endless and those featured in this page are undoubtedly the most popular amongst visitors and Edinburgers alike. Whichever museum(s) you choose, you will be enthralled with their captivating collections, encapsulating most subjects from Palaeography to Toys. A visit to Edinburgh's museums is a delightful and inexpensive day out, most being free of charge.