While many of the Museums in Scotland are concentrated in Edinburgh and Glasgow you will find links here to collections around the whole of Scotland. Of course, there is a separate section of this Directory devoted to History.>
The Hunterian, beside Glasgow University, is the oldest public museum in Scotland. The Web site is excellent with sections on a range of exhibits including the Romans in Scotland (map of the Antonine Wall) and Leckie Broth. Pages on dinosaurs and fossils found in Scotland also an eye-opener. The fossil of a shark found in Bearsden, a middle class suburb of Glasgow, has given rise to many jokes about sharks still being found there!
The National Museums Scotland website provides information on all the exhibitions, activities and events that are taking place at all six sites. The National Museum of Scotland is a landmark building in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. For generations, they’ve collected key exhibits from all over Scotland and beyond. Viking brooches, Pictish stones, ancient chessmen, medieval oakcarvings, ornate quaichs and Queen Mary’s clarsach. The unusual, the weird and the wonderful – all under one roof. The museum has inspired millions of people from Scotland and across the world for over 150 years. There have been many changes as the museum has developed through time and we are now in the midst of a major transformation. Part of the Victorian Royal Museum building is now closed for three years they create a whole new floor at street level with better visitor facilities and 16 new galleries.
More specialised aspects are covered at the Museum of Rural Life> in East Kilbride makes a perfect day out with wide open fields, an award-winning museum and a historic farmhouse – not to mention our sheep, horses and hens. The sites, sounds and smells of Wester Kittochside Farm reveal everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the countryside and a whole lot more. There is also the Museum of Flight> at East Fortune in East Lothian is full of atmosphere and home to 43 aircraft from the daunting early days of flight to the sleek sophistication of Concorde. Discover the impact of war on Scotland’s history, identity and reputation at the National War Museum of Scotlnd> within the walls of Edinburgh Castle. The museum depicts the story of the Scottish soldier from historical times to the present day The National Museum also administers the Museums Collection Centre> consisting of photographs, slides, postcards, film, drawings and sources such as diaries, letters, account books, newspaper cuttings, bibliographies and other notes.
With an excellent selection of illustrations The Glasgow Web Site covers all the expected tourism aspects of the city - and more! There are sections on most of the Glasgow Museums> including the delightful Transport Museum > and the Fossil Grove.> Glasgow's Art Galleries> includes the famous Burrell Collection.>. But it is the "extra" pages which make this site even more worthwhile to browse through. And there is also a brief History of Glasgow>
This is the only UK science centre based on the five senses and brings science to life in dozens of imaginative ways. Live science shows include the spectacular Magic Planet show and Science-On-the-Spot demonstrations, which show how everyday household ingredients can be used to amazing effect. Budding surgeons can even try their hand at keyhole surgery. Journey into the future as you meet the robots of Roborealm and learn how robots use sensors to interpret their environment. Then step into the Mindball Arena to experience the future of cybernetics for yourself - two competitors sit opposite each other and compete to move a ball using nothing but their brain waves....
This is Scotland's first science and discovery centre and with over 50 hands-on interactive exhibits and live science shows, offering interactive ways for visitors to discover more about the world around them and the science of how things work.
Brief details of this museum nestled under Stirling Castle and which manages to come up with frequent exhibitions on aspects of local "Braveheart" related subjects.
This is an online database of information on voyages and mariners from 16/19th century shipping logs plus other information on maritime heritage for Tayside. It is still in the construction phase, so a lot more information on people, places, and artefacts will be added over the coming months, including a lot more images.
The Scottish Fisheries Museum tells the story of Scottish fishing and its people from the earliest times to the present. The Web site has an extended, illustrated "tour" of the museum and information on "The Reaper", a small fishing boat built in 1902.
The Web site for the model village created by David Dale in the 18th century were not just the largest cotton-spinning mills in Britain, but also an experiment in social engineering. Millions have been spent bringing the village back to life and it is now one of the top ten tourist attractions in Scotland. In addition to seeing life at it was in the 18th/19th century, there is now an audio/visual multi-media "Millennium Experience" as well. And after all that there are walks along the banks of the river Clyde to the famous Corra Linn waterfall.
Information and images on the history and development of Scotland’s textile industry over the years, held in a database of some 4,000 descriptions of archives and museums across Scotland and beyond. Information ranges from embroidery, textile art works, textile machinery, tweeds and tartans, haute couture garments, trade union banners to records and industry business records. Access is by a database search for key words or subjects.
The museum is run by Dalkeith History Society in a building designed for use as a Corn Exchange. The Grade A listed building, on Dalkeith's High Street, was lying empty and at risk when the building was bought by by Melville Housing Association in 2013 with the intention of using it for its new offices, community meeting rooms and a new museum for the town. The repair and conversion scheme was carefully designed to respect the character of this historic building whilst at the same time providing modern office accommodation and a fully-fitted out and accessible museum for the Dalkeith History Society.
About the restoration of Captain Scott's "Discovery", the exhibition and the voyages of the Royal Research Ship Discovery, built in Dundee to take Captain Scott to Antarctica.
The story of the jute works at Verdant (now an award-winning tourist attraction with original working machinery, computer displays and film show), the story of jute and a background to the social history of Dundee when it was the world centre for the manufacture of jute.
Elgin Museum is known for its collection of Pictish Stones> and there are images of these on their Website. The stones include two of the Burghead Bulls.
The Trust (located near Livingston in West Lothian) was awarded the title of "Scottish Museum of the Year" in 2002 and their extensive Web site illustrates an innovative museum packed full of things to prod, sniff, shake and discover, with activities to make all the family smile and wonder - from hunting for fossils to exploring a microscopic universe. And there are also the animals of Mill Farm, a working watermill and a riverside walk. There's an indoor adventure playground, a soft play area, and on summer weekends, trailer rides and trips on the narrow-gauge railway. In other words, they've thought of everything!
This museum can be found in three different locations. At Irvine Harbour in Ayrshire (once one of Scotland's main trading ports) holds important collections of documents, books, plans and photographs and there are a number of ships within the museum including a Clyde "Puffer"
The Scottish Mining Museum is based at the Lady Victoria Colliery, Newtongrange, Lothian and their Web site gives details of the tours and exhibitions available there.
At Wanlockhead (Scotland's highest village at 1531 feet above sea level) in Dumfries and Galloway, the Museum of Scottish Lead Mining site not only covers the Museum itself but other tourist attractions in Wanlockhead including a beam engine and 18th and 19th century miners' cottages in the village. And then there is a section on gold - with details of gold panning courses and a history of Scottish gold.
Set in a 100 acre site amidst the picturesque scenery of the Doon Valley, the site was originally an iron works, built around 1850, and today it tells the story of the ironworks, coal mining and brickworks at Dunaskin through the eyes of the people who lived and worked there. The museum also has a collection of vintage locomotives and rolling stock, and has close links with the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group.
This is a centre for archaeology and landscape interpretation and provides resources for environmental education. It won the Scottish Museum of the Year Award in 1998. The museum opened in 1997 and tells the story of Scotland's early years. But the museum, in a former manse north of Lochgilphead, is also surrounded by history in the form of burial mounds, standing stones dating from the bronze age and the remains of ancient forts. One of the forts, Dunadd, may have been the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada.
This museum, in the Black Isle town's eighteenth-century Courthouse, covers all aspects of local history. The Web site links to a large image library with 860 images divided into a number of different categories and/or dates.
Groam House Museum is 15 miles north east of Inverness in the Black Isle seaside village of Rosemarkie. It is an outstanding Pictish Centre for Ross and Cromarty with a display focussed on 15 carved Pictish stones. All the stones originated in Rosemarkie, some dating back to the 8th century AD. The pride of the collection is the magnificent Rosemarkie cross-slab, decorated with enigmatic Pictish symbols.
The Centre provides a focus for the work of Dunbeath Preservation Trust: a research base; a repository for research data, manuscripts, photographs and items of local material culture; an exhibition and interpretation space; a venue for lectures, storytelling and workshops. The Heritage Centre is a fully registered museum and the site covers the archaeology and the environment of the area. The Neil Gunn Society recently merged with Dunbeath Preservation Trust and the Trust has a large collection of material relating to Gunn and his work.
The Smiddy in Strachur, on Loch Fyne in Argyll, has been in existence since the 18th century and was still in operation until the mid-1950s. The contents have remained virtually untouched since the day of closure, thus providing a unique record of the technology of the blacksmith and his craft. It is both a museum and a craft shop selling works of art and craft of local artists. The site also gives information about Strachur and walks in the surrounding area.
Skye Museum of Island Life shows how ordinary folk lived in bygone days, not those in castles.
The award winning Glendale Toy Museum was destroyed in a fire in 2002 but Holmisdale House is now rebuilt and the curators have managed to add to or rescue some of the collection. The site shows the losses, survivors and new additions to the museum.
The history of Tain, an ancient royal burgh in the north of the Highlands of Scotland. It is set in a complex of three buildings in an atmospheric churchyard: a medieval collegiate church, a museum, and a visitor centre in an old schoolhouse, each of which offers a different perspective on Tain’s long and eventful past. The well-illustrated Web site covers all of these aspects - and more.
Auchindrain, south of Inveraray in Argyll, is an original West Highland village and the only communal tenancy township in Scotland to have survived on its centuries old site much in its original form with buildings which have been restored and preserved. Queen Victoria visited Auchindrain in 1875 and recorded the event in her diary.
Located not far from Oban, the Easdale Folk Museum aims to show a snapshot of life on Easdale Island as it was in the 19th Century, when the Island was the centre of the Scottish slate industry. The Museum re-creates the atmosphere of life on the Island when the Easdale Slate Quarries Company was at its prime.
Opened in 1893, the museum has a collection reflecting the human and natural history of the Stewartry - the eastern half of Galloway. The social history collections of the eighteenth and nineteenth century are particularly important. There is a local and family history information service, photographic and archive collections, plus a shop.
A museum to John Paul Jones has been set up at his birthplace in Arbigland, Dumfries. The Web site (watch out for the ship's bell if you have a sound card!) has information and biographical details of the founder of the US Navy. 1997 was the 250th anniversary of his birth.
The original Ruthwell Parish Bank, founded by the Rev Henry Duncan, is now home of the Savings Banks Museum. The eighteenth century building houses a collection of early home savings boxes, coins and bank notes from many parts of the world. There are books on the worldwide spread of savings banks. The archives include documents and letters on the history of savings banks, as well as social, economic and family history records. The site also has information on the magnificent 8th century Ruthwell Cross which was restored by Duncan. The eighth century Cross is one of the finest Anglo-Saxon crosses in Britain and has now been returned to its rightful place in Ruthwell Church. The first scientific paper on fossil footprints found in Corncockle Quarry was presented by Duncan to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1828.
A privately owned world-class collection of gemstones, crystals, minerals, gemstone objet d'art and fossils, Gem Rock is regarded as as one of the finest private collections of its kind. Mmore than just a static display, it is a fully interactive experience with lots of things to do as well as to see.
The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) provides information about the organisation and Computer Application for National Monument Records> "CANMORE" allows you on-line access to the database of the National Monuments Record of Scotland (NMRS). The database contains details of many thousands of archaeological sites, monuments, buildings and maritime sites in Scotland together with an index to the drawings, manuscripts and photographs in the Collections of the NMRS.
List of a number of aircraft crash sites with photographs and other pertinent information. There were around 15 sites covered in various parts of Scotland when I last visited this resource.
The Edinburgh University Collection of Historical Musical Instruments is drawn from around the world, not just Scotland. The Web pages list all the instruments in the gallery together with illustrations of many of them.
SCRAN will document and making electronically available the collections held by public bodies, including museums, galleries and archives. It will build up a vast national database containing 1.6 million records, more than 100,000 images and interactive multimedia programmes on subjects ranging from shipbuilding on the Clyde to the Romans in Scotland, from the Industrial Revolution to the Vikings. There will be access to top quality cultural resources, including pictures, sound files and moving images. The project is being funded in part by a £7 million award from the Millenium Commission. As the project is only just under way this site is only able to whet our appetites.
Individuals are also contributing to Web pages devoted to Scottish cultural history, including random historical Newspaper Cuttings> by Gordon Johnson.
This site links to railway preservation throughout the UK. The specifically Scottish connections are:
Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society owns a stretch of track between Banchory and Milton of Crathes visitor centre and plan to operate a Battery Electric Railcar which was used by members of the royal family and ran from Ballater between 1958 and 1962.
The Centre is operated by the volunteers of the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group. It contains history, and, of course, pictures - of past and present industrial locomotives at work.
One of the last fishing boats to be powered by sail, the "Swan" was launched in Shetland in 1900. The site has photographs and stories from the boat's early years and brings the story up to date with the project to rebuild and restore the boat to its former glory.
This is an interesting and well illustrated history of the wreck of "The Swan" (yes, another "Swan") at Duart Point, Mull. There is a history of the wreck (from the days of Cromwell's attempt to attack the MacLean stronghold at Duart Castle, Mull. The modern techniques of recovering the wreck are also described.
The s.v.Glenlee is currently moored at Yorkhill Quay, Glasgow. She is a 19th century barque launched in 1896 that circumnavigated the world four times. She is now the centrepiece of the new Clyde Maritime Centre which will tell the story of the River Clyde’s Maritime history and its people.
The story of the famous ship launched at Dumbarton on November 22 1869 to be the fastest ship in the race to bring home the first of the new season's tea from China. She later brought back wool from Australia.
The Paddle Steamer "Maid of the Loch" is currently being restored, ultimately to sail again on the waters of Loch Lomond. This site is dedicated to her and all who are giving their time, commitment and cash to bringing back to life this most beautiful of ships. There is a history of the ship, up to date news and a gallery of photographs.
The last sea-going paddle steamer in the world sailing round the coasts of the United Kingdom, including the Firth of Clyde, from its berth in the centre of Glasgow. The site has lots of illustrations of this venerable ship, latest news and a timetable of her cruises "Doon the Watter".
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