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National Museum Of Scotland

Delve into the worlds of history, culture, art, science and much more with a fun family day out at Scotland's national museum

Posted: 28 May 2012
by Julie-Ann Murphy

The redevelopment of the National Museum of Scotland has been quite a big deal. With an investment just shy
of £50 million, the site in the heart of Edinburgh has been transformed and I couldn’t wait to see what was on offer.

The last time I was in the museum, I was knee high to a grasshopper and found it vast and intimidating, but packed with new discoveries. Imagine my delight to find that feeling was the same nearly two decades on. Walking into the main hall was like stepping back in time, but having the memory coloured in with brighter and more vivid pens. The impressiveness of the hall was not lost on our two children either, who both exclaimed an audible “Wow!” as they took in the quite spectacular space.

I was struck by the amazing smell of an old museum, which surprised me, as the new modern glass facade tricked me into thinking I was entering some sleek and minimalist boutique hotel. I actually wondered whether it was being piped through the building like they do with fresh bread in a supermarket. Then, of course, we discovered the amazing collections. Exhibits dating back 130 million years make the mind boggle, and the 12-metre-long T-Rex skeleton is simply staggering. Armed with our map, we attempted to plan to take in each exhibit we really wanted to see, but the sheer excitement and hunger to soak it all up found us wandering
around, mouths open and pointing at something else that had caught our eyes.

The levels are carefully planned and well segregated, from displays on the Natural Worlds, World Cultures,
Art and Design, Science and Technology and, of course, Scotland. There was no way that we were going to cover it all in an afternoon. The interactive exhibits geared towards families were fantastic and introduced learning concepts in a fun way (“How does the wind blow?” and “How do we lift things?” being just two that caught our attention). The Imagine gallery was a bit hit with our under-fives, giving them opportunity to dress up in outfits from different cultures, make a Chinese dragon dance, play the bongos and other instruments, and create their own stories with word jigsaw puzzles.

Access for families was great, with toilets and baby changing facilities on every level and glass lifts for easy buggy transits to the next level of exploration. Eating and drinking options range from grabbing a quick coffee between exhibits to languishing over a leisurely lunch in the impressive Tower Restaurant.

A truly fantastic place to create new memories from some very old things! Yes, National Museum of Scotland, I
like what you’ve done with the place.

This was one of our winning entries in our Silver Cross Days Out Travel Writer Competition. Find about out other winners, the Discover Children's Story Centre in London and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

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