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From the imposing Edinburgh Castle & the Royal Mile to Princes Street & the major museums like the National Museum of Scotland & the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland is a dream for history lovers. In addition to the well-known museums, there are a few other smaller museums that are great ways to get to know the city. The Museum of Edinburgh is a nice city museum that covers centuries of Edinburgh’s history.
The Museum of Edinburgh is located at the eastern end of the Royal Mile, not far from the Scottish Parliament building. Canongate, the burial place of Adam Smith, and the People’s Story Museum are right across the street. The Museum of Edinburgh is also near several hop-on, hop-off bus routes. Entry is free, with donations suggested.
The Museum of Edinburgh (official website) is a maze of a museum that tells the full history of Edinburgh. It is located in the Huntly House, an old building that dates back to the 16th century and has previously housed a pub, workshops, and homes. The museum was previously known as the Huntly House Museum.
Initially, the Museum of Edinburgh seems small. As you head upstairs, the exhibits start with a basic overview of what Edinburgh is and means. The ceilings are low, so watch your head as you walk along the squeaky floors.
The next exhibit is an original copy of the National Covenant, printed on deer skin parchment. This document from 1638 was written in response to proposed changes to the Church of Scotland by King Charles I. The act of rebellion would eventually lead to the Bishops’ Wars and subsequently the English Civil War.
The following room has more collections of somewhat random objects, all related to Edinburgh’s Old Town. They are both personal and of historical importance from around the city. For example, the collection contains a basket made by Adam Smith’s mother, John Knox’s spectacles case, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s golf ball. What a terrible shot it must have been to end up here.
This museum which initially seems small keeps expanding into more and more rooms and exhibitions. There’s a bit of everything here, some relating to history, some relating to industry, and some relating to famous Edinburgh personalities.
The next room is the Edinburgh silver gallery.
Then there are exhibits about the construction of the New Town, including original drawings.
Another room tells the story of famed Edinburgh dog Greyfriars Bobby. It even includes some of his personal items like his collar and wish.
One of the more interesting rooms is the costume gallery. The Museum of Edinburgh has collected local clothing & shoes, thus preserving how its residents have dressed over time. Given how fashion is always changing, it’s a cool concept for a collection.
Heading up to yet another level, there is a multi-room gallery dedicated to Earl Haig, who among other things was the commander-in-chief of the British Army for the last 3 years of World War I. The collection includes everything from personal items to robes to awards.
Another thorough (perhaps almost overly so) collection covers the Edinburgh glassmaking, pottery, and ceramics decorative art industries.
The Museum of Edinburgh is a quirky collection of historical items and stories relating to the Scottish capital. It’s a nice little representation of life in Edinburgh & provides a unique introduction to the city. For more nearby history, visit The People’s Story Museum and the Museum on the Mound.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Edinburgh, check out these Edinburgh hotels.
Last updated on September 26, 2022