Site Overview

A rich and representative collection of exhibits from around Scotland

During the past two centuries, Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles and northern Scotland have proved particularly good places for finding Viking objects. Initially the National Museum in Edinburgh was the only place where their safety could be guaranteed and so it boasts a rich and representative collection of objects from daily life as well as high status objects.

The wealth of the National Museum includes the assemblages from Jarlshof (Shetland), the Brough of Birsay (Orkney), the Lewis Chessmen, the Westness Brooch and the Skaill Hoard. The Birsay objects include a perforated bear tooth with a runic inscription – “FUTHARK” – the runic equivalent of writing ABCDEFG.

As local museum provision has improved, many Scottish finds are now allocated to the area which they came from, but the National Museum still receives some of the richer assemblages.

Most recently the museum has acquired the Galloway Hoard: a rich Viking-Age hoard of silver jewellery and ingots. In all, more than 100 objects were buried at the beginning of the 10th century. It includes an unparalleled range of precious metal and jewelled items, including a rare gold ingot, a unique bird-shaped gold pin, all in a complete, lidded and decorated silver-gilt vessel. In addition to precious metals, the container held beads, amulets of glass and rock crystal, five Anglo-Saxon disc brooches and two examples of a new type of quatrefoil brooch.

Visitor Information
Season - Months Open
All year, except Christmas Day
Opening Hours - Days and Times
Daily: 10.00-17.00
26 December: 12.00-17.00
1 January: 12.00-17.00
Free, donations welcome
Key Attractions
  • Artefacts
  • Other
Contact Details

National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF

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