There are a number of Museums to visit in Edinburgh, of course. But National Museum of Scotland stood out among all. The kids wanted Natural History (the dinosaurs!) and I was keen on its World Cultures gallery. It was not too far from the Royal Mile (we were there earlier), approximately 10 - 15 minutes walk via George IV Bridge. As the museum situated at very beginning corner of Chambers Street, we were able to see the magnificent Victorian building when we were approaching the junction of Chambers Street and George IV Bridge.
The building of the Museum of Scotland after the merger, opened in 1998, not just to tell the country's history from earliest times to the present day, it created a landmark museum in Edinburgh.
|Entrance Hall at Level 0 (left picture above);|
Grand Gallery at Level 1 (right pictures above).
After we entered into the Museum from Chambers Street Entrance, the crypt-like Entrance Hall with a grand reception counter welcomed us and fed us information. A fine brasserie at one end and a gift shop on the other. From a romantic gloom, we went up to Grand Gallery at Level 1 and were impressed with its very spectacular huge light-filled, atrium space. The Grand Gallery is heart of the Museum: a soaring, four-storey cast iron and timber structure surrounded by delicate and intricate galleries. It provided a vivid introduction to the National Museum of Scotland and the rich and diverse collection housed here.
|A better view of the Grand Gallery, from Level 2 (left) and Level 3 (right above)|
Apparently, the National Museum of Scotland was only formed in 2006 with the merger of the new Museum of Scotland and the adjacent Royal Museum. The former was with collections relating to Scottish antiquities, culture and history, the latter housed collections covering science and technology, natural history and world cultures.
|The huge 12-foot long Feast Bowl was one of the attentions in Grand Gallery.|
Through the spacious Grand Gallery, with its thin iron columns set close together and arched timber roof, we were very much walking inside a giant birdcage. A very beautiful one! Raising through four storeys, the Window on the World displayed a spectacular array of over 800 objects drawn from a wide range of cultures and disciplines.
|The gallery of Animal World.|
Looking through the arch at the eastern end of the Grand Gallery, we saw a Tyrannosaurus Rex peering through at us.
The girls loved meeting the 12-metre-long, life sized skeleton case of a T. Rex in the Animal World. We spent a long time here looking at hundreds of fascinating animals and had a chance to weigh ourselves with a range of animals from polar bear to chimpanzee to koala bear.
There were a number of interactive stations to engage visitors.
Moving on to the Living Lands, the Tibetan prayer wheels attracted me. It was made at Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery, Scotland- Europe's oldest and largest centre for Tibetan Buddhism. I let Little Bomber tried her hands on stencil-colouring- another interactive way to engage visitors, the little ones especially.
|@ the Gallery of Living Lands, L1.|
Without knowing, we came to Imagine, one the interactive galleries for families with young children. Interestingly, we learnt how some artifices had brought to the museum in Edinburgh in the simplest way.
|Imagine, Level 1.|
Slowly we walked up the museum one floor after another, we landed into the Adventure Planet at Level 5- it was an interactive nature gallery for children to dino-dig, dress-up to survive extreme environments and explore hands-on nature activities.
This was where SC and I got to take five. I think, this space was meant to rescue exhausted parents by fascinate the children.
|Adventure Planet, Level 5.|
Level 5's Traditions of Sculpture was just outside the Adventure Planet. I like it a lot. Looking at the Buddhas, I found strength to carry on our journey of discovery. This was where I learnt more about Buddhism too.
Buddha is shown seated in meditation, having achieved enlightenment. The pose is known as "earth witness". The Buddha's left hand is in his lap, palm up and his right hand reaches to touch the earth, it represents the moment when his six-year search for a perfect state of understanding and tranquility ended and he asked the earth goddess as his witness. The event is fundamental to the Buddhist religion.
|Stone Relief, Bihar, India, 12th Century (Right above).|
Even though some of the galleries were closed for refurbishment, we could not cover the entire Museum. We took too long to explore Natural World galleries and World Cultures galleries. We had to miss Scottish History and Archeology. It was by chance that we walked into Scotland Transformed.
How can I missed those great inventions from Industrial Revolution!?
|I knew it was a steam engine that we were looking at, but I didn't know it was the mighty Newcomen Engine(top left);|
An early industrial textile machine (bottom left and right).
I was marvelled at the steam engine, my first to see a real one. My first to see the first ever steam engine, invented by Thomas Newcomen. I mean reading some history about it being one of the most important technologies of the Industrial Revolution, I did not expect it to be restored in a museum. And it was 9.5m high! And I could not tell the girls how did it work.
I could only marvel at the invention, as long as I could.
Don't miss National Museum of Scotland, if you are in Edinburgh!
Address: Chamber Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF
Admission: Free; Donation welcome.
Opening Hours: 1000 to 1700 every day (except Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year Day).
Free Wi-fi is available in most common areas in the Museum. Sc and I were split up once in the big museum, and I didn't have roaming service to call him. By connecting to the Museum's free wifi, we were re-connected and found each other.
Find out how to make the most of your visit to National Museum of Scotland through the link here. Download the museum map could be one most helpful way prior to your visit.