04 September 2019

Journey through Scottish History: The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

The National Museum of Scotland was established in 2006 following the amalgamation of the Museum of Scotland and the older Royal Scottish Museum. From the former came its collection of artefacts covering Scottish history and culture, with the latter contributing items related to science and technology, natural history, art, archaeology, and world cultures. The two connected buildings forming the National Museum of Scotland are located on Chambers Street in Old Town Edinburgh. Admission to the museum is free, with the number of visitors exceeding 2.2 million in 2018.

The Victorian Venetian Renaissance façade of the former Royal Scottish Museum building, clad in Scottish-quarried  golden Moray sandstone.  Prince Albert laid the foundation stone in 1861 and the museum partially opened to the public in 1866, though construction was only fully completed in 1888.  Subsequently, extensions were added to the back of the building, especially during the 1930s.  Between 2008 and 2011, a three-year, £47 million restoration and expansion of the building was undertaken, along with a refresh of its galleries, re-opening to the public on 29 July 2011.

Below: The front and reverse sides of the free map available to visitors to the Scottish National Museum in Edinburgh.

The museum's vaulted, 1,400 square metre street-level Entrance Hall was created during the 2011 restoration project out of spaces previously used for museum storage.

The galleries of the 1998 building present Scottish history in chronological order, with the period of prehistory to the early medieval period found on the ground floor and later periods covered on ascending floors.  Seen here is the entrance to the first gallery on Scottish history, 'Kingdom of the Scots'. 

A display of medieval Scottish artefacts.  The case in the centre of the photo holds Clarsach, known as the Queen Mary harp, built around 1500 and featuring characteristic West Highland decoration.

A gallery devoted to Scotland's medieval history includes carvings, cannons, musical instruments, and various handheld weapons.

The Beaton panels, an excellent example of late Gothic woodwork, were likely carved for Cardinal David Beaton in the 1530s.  The series of seven main panels may have been carved for Cardinal Beaton's private apartments at St Andrews Castle, and later removed by his nephew, John Beaton of Balfour, captain of the castle, who had them installed in the dining room of Balfour House in Fife.  The carver's name is unknown.  

Two of the seven main panels of the Beaton panels.  On the left, panel 2 depicts the Tree of Jesse, copied from a French-printed Book of Hours of the 1520s or 1530s; on the right, panel 3 depicts the Arma Christi, a coat of arms devised for Christ.  The intricate, two-dimensional carving, the use of heraldry, the tracery, and vine scroll designs are characteristic of late Gothic artistry.

A cast of the tomb of Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587) at London's Westminster Abbey by Cornelius Cure, 1606-1612.  King James VI commissioned this tomb, perhaps partly to appease his guilt at distancing himself from his mother during her lifetime.  The tomb was a symbol of Mary's rehabilitation many years after her execution in 1587. 

A collection of German-made swords with basket hilts manufactured and fitted by armourers in Stirling.  The manufacturing of quality basket hilts in Stirling began in 1714 by armourer John Allen and others, who did a brisk business with the Scottish Highlands before 1745; the industry came to an end around 1770, however.   

One of the displays of traditional Scottish weapons.  Seen here are various ballock knives and daggers, which were fashionably worn with civilian clothing in the 16th and early 17th centuries.  These knives are examples of a luxury industry centred on Edinburgh at this time.  Item 1 is a ballock knife, signed 'WR' for Englishman William Ratcliffe; the knife is gilt and etched with decoration, with a maker's mark consisting of a crowned symbol or letter.  Item 2 is an early 17th century gilt dagger etched with panels of decoration and used in the left hand when fighting with a sword in the right hand.  Item 3 is a ballock knife dating from 1614 and engraved with the initials 'RP 'of its owner, with a leather sheath and by-knife housed in a separate pocket.  

A clock made by John Scott of Edinburgh around 1790, with dials by Andrew Smith. Clocks symbolised the practical application of science in the 18th century. Chronometers made possible the determination of longitude, a huge advance for the navigation of oceans, and an elaborate clock celebrated this achievement in the home.

A display of cast iron goods, including pots, kettles, and decorative panels.  Iron foundries in Scotland melted pig iron in small furnaces known as cupolas and formed it into cast iron goods.  The growth of house building in the late 18th century, especially in Glasgow and Edinburgh's New Town, led to a great increase in demand for decorative ironwork for railings and balconies.  The iron industry helped transform the Scottish economy, from the establishment of the Carron Ironworks in 1759 to the 19th century heyday of iron shipbuilding on the River Clyde.  Indeed, Scotland became a world leader in the smelting and founding of iron and, by the end of the 19th century, was also producing steel, the iron-carbon alloy that is stronger than wrought iron and less brittle than cast iron. 

A six-pounder carronade manufactured in 1781 by the Carron Ironworks, Scotland's first large-scale industrial company.  Light but powerful carronades, named after the company, were first made in 1778 and were soon adopted by the Royal Navy.  The Carron Ironworks were founded by a group of entrepreneurs near Falkirk in Stirlingshire in 1759 and used locally-mined iron ore smelted by coke.   

A display on steam power and its application to Scottish industrial enterprises.  The centre of the display features a scale model of the rotative engine built by Boulton & Watt in 1788 to power their Soho Works at Handsworth Heath, near Birmingham; it possesses a double-acting cylinder and incorporates Watt's separate condenser (in the tank), parallel motion, sun-and-planet drive, and governor.  Images of different types of steam engines and a portrait of James Watt, inventor of the Watt engine, adorn the back wall; a Watt governor, an apparatus to control the speed of steam engines, sits next to the rotative engine model.  James Watt improved upon the earlier Newcomen atmospheric engine, creating by 1784 his steam-powered rotative engine able to turn a shaft and thus better suited to driving machinery.  These rotative engines soon replaced water wheels as the main industrial power source.      

A Corliss engine, a single cylinder steam engine built in 1923 by Douglas & Grant of Kirkcaldy, Fife to power a weaving mill at Glentana Mill, Alva, Clackmannanshire.  The design of the Corliss engine dates back to the 1860s, and incorporates a rotary valve invented in the United States to permit very fine control essential to textile mill engines. 

A beetling engine, which made use of water to beat linen or cotton cloth ('beetling') to give a flat and lustrous effect.  Before the mechanisation of spinning and weaving, water power was used to drive machinery for a few specialised processes, such as fulling woollen cloth, beetling linen, and operating bellows for iron furnaces.  Spinning was the first major industrial process to be mechanised in late 18th century Scotland.     

A beetling engine originally installed at Arbroath and Kirkcaldy before being set up in the Baluniefield Bleachworks near Dundee around 1948.  Vertical stamps were raised by a spiral of wooden pegs on the revolving barrel and allowed to fall under the own weight; the cast iron barrel was driven through gears by a 6 metre wide water wheel.

A Newcomen engine, the world's first practical steam engine, developed by Thomas Newcomen of Dartmouth, Devon.  This particular engine was built in 1811 and used to drain a mine at Caprington, near Kilmarnock, southwest of Glasgow.  Newcomen engines were designed to pump water from mines and used steam to create a vacuum underneath a piston; atmospheric pressure above the piston then forced the piston to move.  The first successful Newcomen engine was installed at Dudley in the English Midlands in 1712, with similar engines soon following at most other mine sites in England and Scotland.  Atmospheric engines were very inefficient, consuming large quantities of fuel and thus being employed where coal was readily available and cheap.  Despite the greater efficiency and wider applicability of the subsequently developed Watt steam engine, the higher cost of the Watt engine meant that Newcomen engines often continued to be used for draining mines.       

A display on the Scottish banking system, which emerged in the 18th century to cater to the needs of a growing economy.  The Bank of Scotland was formed by a group of private shareholders in 1695 and, although created by order of the Scottish Parliament, it was independent of the state.  The Bank's monopoly lasted until 1727, when the Royal Bank of Scotland was formed, followed by the creation of the British Linen Company Bank in 1746 to encourage the Scottish linen industry.  In the 1750s and 1760s, provincial banking companies were founded in all of the main Scottish burghs, with a fairly sophisticated regional banking system in place by the 1770s.  The first banknotes were issued by the Bank of Scotland in 1695 and promised to pay the holder on demand the value of the note in gold.  Scottish banks led the way in many aspects of banknote design in the 19th and 20th centuries, including high quality engraving, multicolour design, and security printing.  Gold, and later copper, coins were also issued in Scotland, with large quantities of old Scottish copper coins continuing to circulate after the 1707 union of Scotland and England, pegged to their new British equivalents.

A display on the development of Scotland's mining industry, assisted by technological advances of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Coal was the fuel for Scotland's enormous industrial expansion in the 19th century, powering locomotives and steam ships, being used in factories for smelting iron and steel, and burned in homes for heat and light.  Coal mining was back-breaking and dangerous work, with miners using simple hand tools until the introduction of machinery in the mid-19th century.  Until the abolition of serfdom in 1799, some miners and their families were tied to working in the mines of certain landowners and women and children worked alongside men in the mines until banned by an Act of Parliament in 1842.  Technological improvements in mining were driven not by concern for workers' safety, but rather by the need to increase production.  Included in the objects displayed in this case is a Davey's safety lamp, designed to prevent explosions of the inflammable coal gas that often built up in mines; and a model of a steam engine-driven Guibal fan used to improve air circulation in mine shafts and reduce deaths and injuries caused by gas poisoning.

A display on trade, which expanded after the union of Scotland and England in 1707 and which fed the Scottish industrial revolution in the 18th century. Numerous articles in the Treaty of Union addressed trade and the economy, key interests of Scottish politicians and landowners, with Article IV of the Treaty guaranteeing Scottish trade free access to English and colonial markets.

Access to markets in England and the British overseas colonies especially benefitted Scottish linen and cattle exporters, while tobacco and sugar was imported through the port of Glasgow on the River Clyde for Scottish consumption or onward trade with Europe.  With legal access to the colonies, Scottish merchants invested heavily in the tobacco trade, acquiring control over more than half of British tobacco imports from America's Chesapeake Bay area plantations by the 1770s.  Between 1741 and 1771, tobacco imports into Glasgow soared from 3.6 million kilos to 21.5 million kilos, with some of the imported product feeding the Scots' love of smoking, chewing, or snuffing tobacco, but with the majority of it being re-exported to France.  The dark side of Scotland's growing trade-based prosperity, however, was slavery: the American tobacco plantations were dependent on legions of African slaves to plant, harvest, and process the crop.  Scots owned more slaves per capita than the English by the time slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833.  The objects displayed in this case include models of the merchant snow brig Mary and the smack Comet; nautical instruments; trade tokens produced to promote a town's trade and for exchange; Chinese porcelain; a silver tea caddy, sugar bowl, tongs, and cutters; and snuffboxes.      

A display on the prosperity arising from Scotland's merchant trade. In the 18th century, sailing ships carried a wide range of raw products and manufactured goods between Scotland and Norway, the Baltic, the Low Countries, France, Spain, Ireland, and England.  Large volumes of wine, brandy, sherry, and port were imported into Scotland, particularly by Edinburgh wine merchants.  Wine imported in large wooden barrels was bottled by local merchants, driving the development of the Scottish glass-making industry; nevertheless, to avoid paying the hated government duties on imports, wine smuggling was commonplace.  The case holds examples of pewter wine flagons, wine glasses, decanters, and stoneware bottles for seltzer water. 

A display on Scottish social life during the 18th century Enlightenment period.  At home, men and women met and enjoyed the polite institution of taking tea, while the crowed taverns of Edinburgh's Old Town served as meeting places for the capital city's many convivial clubs and as places to catch up on news, debate the issues of the day, play cards, and conduct business.  Fashionable members of Scottish society met at musical soirees, balls, and assemblies.  The silver tea service (c. 1734-35) and porcelain tea cup, saucer, and lid (c. 1720) displayed in this case reflect the formality and prestige of tea time, which began as a luxurious habit of the wealthy since tea was imported from China; tea gradually displaced ale and spirits as the focal point of fashionable gatherings in the home.  Although tea became affordable and thus accessible to the working class by the end of the 1700s, tea remained an elaborate ritual for polite society.  

A high quality longcase clock built by John Hamilton of Glasgow around 1775. The clock is contained in a fashionable 'Chinese Chippendale' mahogany case and, as a musical clock, strikes on the quarter hours and plays one of four popular tunes on the hours: 'Miss Hamilton's delight'; 'The Birks O'Envermay'; 'The last time I came o'er the muir'; and 'For the sake of gold'.

The entrance to the 'Industry and Empire' gallery. By the 18th century, Scotland had become an integral part of the British state and developed rapidly as an industrial nation in tandem with the expansion of the British Empire. Scotland's industrial prowess was fed by generous deposits of coal and ironstone, made accessible by railways and canals, with Scottish emigrant communities overseas aiding this development and opening new markets for Scottish goods. Out of the range of Scottish industrial enterprises arose three sectors that would come to define Scottish exports: railway engineering, whisky distilling, and shipbuilding. This gallery examines the effects at home and abroad of Scotland's contribution to industry and empire in the 19th century.
A display on Scotland's glass industry.  Bottle glass manufacturing began in the 17th century and evolved into an important industry in the 18th century, with Edinburgh becoming a world leader in the manufacture of fine quality engraved table glassware by the 1860s.  Glass is made by melting silica from sand or flint with soda or potash at very high temperature.  The green colour of early glass was caused by small quantities of iron, whereas small amounts of lead oxide produce a brilliant glass, lead crystal, which is usually cut or engraved.  Melting of glass was carried out using covered fireclay pots set into arches in a conical structure with a central furnace.  Glass manufacturing was carried out in numerous locations throughout central Scotland, with the main centres being Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leith, and Alloa.  The display case seen in the photo contains various glass-making tools and implements, as well as examples of the kind of glassware manufactured in Scotland and advertisements for the Holyrood Glass Works, Edinburgh, depicting glass blowing and glass cutting and engraving.

A display of tools used in Scotland's famous whisky distilling industry, which is the country's most valuable export and an important source of tax revenue.  Whisky was being made across Scotland by the 15th century, its name derived from the Gaelic uisge beatha ('water of life'); by the 19th century, the whisky-making process had become industrialised in a number of large distilleries.  Malt whiskies owe their distinctive flavours to local variations in malted barley, water, peat fuel, and minor differences in the distilling process.  Barley is steeped in water and spread out on malting floors where the grain germinates.  The grain is then dried in a kiln over a peat fire; the green malt is ground and mashed with hot water to form the wort.  The wort is cooled and run into large mash tuns together with yeast.  Fermentation takes place and the resulting liquid is distilled twice and sometimes three times.  The first stage, the wash still, produces low wines and the second still produces spirit.  After distillation, the spirit is stored in oak casks for at least three years before it can be called whisky.  Malt whiskies are maturated for at least eight years and often longer before bottling.

A display on the marketing of Scotch whiskies.  The whisky industry enjoyed a major boost in the 1870s and 1880s, when the failure of the grape harvest destroyed brandy production and whisky and soda became a popular after-dinner drink.  An aggressive advertising campaign cemented whisky's position, with no other drink being promoted through so many different advertising products, such as distinctive labels and branded glasses and water jugs.

A copper spirit still from the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Banffshire.  Although manufactured in 1963, the still conforms to the long-established pattern and was used in the second stage of the whisky-making process, distilling the low wines that were produced in the wash still.  Stills were usually heated by peat or coal fires, though the danger of overheating and causing the mixture to burn led to the use of more accurate steam heating.  Scotch whisky uses malt barley and yeast to create its distinctive golden hue.  The distillation of whisky is a four-step process: washback, still, worm, and spirit safe.  During the washback stage, alcohol first appears when yeast is added to the sugary mixture.  Bubbles appear when the yeast begins to change the sugars from barley into alcohol; they rise and froth as alcohol is produced and, after 40-60 hours of fermentation, almost all of the sugars in the mixture are alcohol.  During the still stage, the still separates the alcohol from the mixture, with this process being repeated at least twice.  In the worm stage, the alcohol vapour passes through a copper pipe (known as a 'worm') where it condenses into a liquid; although the size and shape of the worm varies between distilleries, all worms contain cold running water to ensure they remain cool.  In the spirit safe stage, the alcohol level of the liquid is tested while passing from the condenser.   The spirit safe containing the liquid is locked to ensure that nobody drinks the alcohol as it flows from the worm.

A display on lighthouse technology.  Following a series of devastating storms that hit the Scottish coasts in 1782, killing many fishermen, a groundswell of public demand for better safety at sea led to the establishment of the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1786.   Four lighthouses had been completed by the Board in key locations by 1800, and an ambitious program to light the entire coast soon followed.  The objects seen here are reflectors to concentrate the beam of light emitted by the lighthouse.

A model of the Bell Rock lighthouse, built atop the dangerous Bell Rock located 18 kilometres off the east coast Scottish town of Arbroath in the northern approaches of the Tay and Forth estuaries and uncovered only briefly at low tide.  Given the hundreds of ships that had foundered at sea after striking Bell Rock, in 1806 the decision was taken to construct a lighthouse atop it.   This model, built for civil engineer Robert Stevenson in 1822, shows Bell Rock at low tide, with the temporary barracks for workmen on the left.  The Bell Rock lighthouse was completed in 1811 and employed a rotating group of reflectors for the light unit at its top.  The tower contained the living quarters of the lighthouse keeper and storage rooms for food and spare parts for the light.

A display on Scottish bridges.  Mounted on the back wall of the case is a plan and elevation of the Union Suspension Bridge over the River Tweed between Horncliffe in England's Northumberland and Fishwick in Scotland's Berwickshire; when it opened on 26 July 1820, the Union Suspension Bridge was the longest wrought iron suspension bridge in the world, measuring 137 metres (449 feet) in length.   Sitting at the bottom of the case is a three-dimensional printed model of the Craigellachie Bridge, a cast iron arch bridge over the River Spey near the village of Aberlour in Moray, Scotland.  The Craigellachie Bridge was designed by the renowned Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford and built between 1812 and 1814.  Scotland's earliest surviving iron road bridge, it measures 46 metres (151 feet) in length and features two 15 metre (49 foot) high mock-medieval towers at either end.

A piece of wrought iron girder from the first Tay Bridge, which collapsed during a strong gale on 28 December 1879, killing all 75 passengers and crew crossing the bridge in a train at the time.  The Tay Bridge encountered serious problems during its construction, with design changes causing delays and cost overruns.  The bridge was finally completed in September 1877 and officially opened on 1 June 1878; however, by the next year loose bolts were already being found and the bridge was said to sway when trains crossed over it.  The collapse of the bridge was blamed on poor workmanship and high winds exceeding the design wind resistance.  A second Tay Bridge, built lower, wider, and stronger than the first, was completed in 1887.  This girder from the first Tay Bridge was found built into a house in Broughty Ferry and shows damage at one end, incurred during the 1879 collapse.

The world's first successful rotary printing press, invented by Edinburgh printers Thomas Nelson around 1850, and displayed at London's Great Exhibition in 1851.  The success of this press lay in the method of holding the semi-circular printing plate securely to the machine.  While it could print 10,000 double-sided sheets per hour, the quality was not considered high enough for book printing.  Scotland's engineering industries grew out of the machine building skills acquired during the 18th century mechanisation of the textile industry, with Scottish engineering firms gradually specialising in certain sectors, especially the shipbuilding and marine industries.  The abundance of local pig iron and coal, as well as a skilled workforce and demand from worldwide markets opened by Glasgow shipping, helped drive the massive expansion of Scotland's industrial sector.

A display on shipbuilding on the River Clyde, which dominated global shipbuilding by the end of the 19th century; indeed, more than one-third of all British-built ships and one-fifth of all the world's ships were launched from yards on the Clyde at this time.  Early Clyde shipyards were clustered in the river's estuary at Greenock, Port Glasgow, and Dumbarton; however, in the 19th century the Clyde was straightened and deepened by dredging, thereby allowing shipyards capable of building large vessels to be constructed on both banks right up to Glasgow.   The success of the iron, steel, and engineering industries in Glasgow led to the construction of iron, and later steel, ships powered by increasingly powerful and efficient steam engines and boilers; in turn, demand from the shipyards served to strengthen these supplier industries.  Between 1846 and 1852 alone, 247 ships were constructed at Clyde shipyards and the phrase 'Clyde-built' became synonymous with 'quality'.  The display seen here contains a photograph of the paddle steamer Persia on the slipway at Robert Napier's yard, Govan, in 1855; and a 1/36 scale model of the Leith sailing ship Jessie, built in the 1880s and characteristic of contemporary cargo ships trading in general mixed cargoes.

A diorama of a Leith shipyard with two wooden ships under construction.  The diorama was built around 1830 and likely depicts general features of area shipyards rather than any particular yard.   Leith was home to five shipyards in the early 19th century, clustered around the harbour at the mouth of the Water of Leith river.  Scotland's shipbuilding industry was centred on the east coast for most of the 18th century, supplying the needs of a flourishing trade with Scandinavia, the Baltic, and the German states.  Timber for the ships constructed in these east coast yards was imported from Hamburg and Bremen (crooked timber for ships' ribs) and Danzig (oak planking).  These east coast-built wooden ships transported a wide range of cargoes, including coal, linen cloth, oatmeal, flour, bricks, tiles, cheese, and butter.  Later, as trade with America stimulated the development of Scottish west coast shipyards, the focus of Scottish shipbuilding shifted to the River Clyde.
A model of the SS Nerbudda, sectioned to show the internal construction and arrangement of cargo space.  Nerbudda was built in 1883 for the British India Steam Navigation Company Ltd by William Denny and Brothers Ltd of Dumbarton on the Clyde.  This shipbuilder was at the forefront of technology, adopting hydraulic rivetting tools and almost always using steel rather than wrought iron.  The model was built by the National Museum of Scotland's workshop to drawings provided by the shipbuilder.

A scale model of the armoured second-class cruiser HMS Hermes, built by Clyde-based Fairfield Shipping and Engineering Co. Ltd., Govan in 1898.  One of three identical cruisers built by Fairfield under a Royal Navy order, Hermes was sunk by a German torpedo off the coast of Belgium in October 1914.

A 1/64 scale model of the Empress of Scotland, built for Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd in 1930 by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan, Glasgow.  Originally named Empress of Japan and used on the Vancouver-Yokohama-Hong Kong route until 1940, the ship became a troop ship and was renamed Empress of Scotland in 1942.  After refurbishment in 1950, the ship operated on the North Atlantic between Liverpool, Greenock, and Quebec City until being sold for scrap in 1967.  Empress of Scotland was 202 metres (662.7 feet) long and powered by two turbines that drove the ship at 20.5 knots (38 km/h).

The steam locomotive Ellesmere, built by Hawthorn & Company, Leith Engine Works, in 1861. The Leith Engine Works was established in 1846 to manufacture locomotives for Scottish railways before the completion of a railway link between England and Scotland in 1848. Locomotives were manufactured by the Leith Engine Works until the 1880s, with several even being exported to Portugal and South Africa. The Ellesmere was a small industrial locomotive built for Howe Bridge Colliery near Atherton in Lancashire; it operated for the colliery until 1957 by which point the 96-year old locomotive was the oldest working locomotive in Britain. The Ellesmere was bought by the Stephenson Locomotive Society in 1957 and brought to Edinburgh by the Edinburgh Society of Model Engineers. Notably, the Ellesmere lacks a cab for the driver, who was required to stand in an exposed position to drive the locomotive.

A display on the movements of Scottish people within Scotland and to England and Wales.  Migratory work patterns were linked to the seasonal nature of Lowland agriculture, which attracted Highland Scots, as well as the fishery, which saw fishermen tailing the herring down the east coast, with women following the fleet to gut and pack the fish.  Many other Scots, both Highland and Lowland, moved to the cities for work, while others migrated within the British Isles.  Some 600,000 Scots moved to England and Wales between 1841 and 1911, many attracted by the higher wages available.  Additionally, Irish immigration to Scotland was a significant factor, with Irish labourers comprising significant numbers of those employed working on Scotland's canals and railways and in the mines and textile industry; as Scots left for work elsewhere in the British Isles, Irish immigration increased, with Protestant/Catholic feuds being transplanted from Ireland and leading many to express their loyalties through membership in either the Loyal Orange Order or Catholic associations established in Scotland. 

A display on the emigration of Scottish people abroad.  Objects displayed here include the badge of a baronet of Nova Scotia, reflecting Scottish colonisation efforts in the 1620s, and a medal commemorating the attempted founding of a Scottish colony at Darien on the isthmus of Panama in 1698.  Scots viewed emigration as offering opportunities for trade and productive settlement, though social and economic pressures at home also provided a powerful motivation to move abroad.  While most Scots emigrated by choice, some prisoners of war captured during the Jacobite rising of 1745 were exiled to the West Indies as indentured servants, while many criminals were banished to the penal colony of Australia.  The clearance of areas of the Scottish Highlands for intensive sheep farming beginning in the late 18th century led to the eviction of many, including approximately 10,000 people from the Sutherland estates alone between 1807 and 1821.  Despite the growth of the Scottish population over the 19th century and the development of the country as a mature industrial economy, Scotland continued to have one of the highest rates of emigration during the same period.          

One of the displays on the movement of Scottish people abroad addresses Scots who moved to Canada.  Beginning in the 1600s, Scots viewed Canada as a source of land, trade, and adventure, harvesting the vast country's abundant stocks of timber, fish, and furs.  As soldiers, Scots helped win Canada for Great Britain and were among the first Europeans to settle there in the era of mass migration.  Scottish emigrants were closely involved in the fur trade in Canada, forging links with First Nations people through trade alliances and as military allies during the years of conflict with France.  Intermarriages with aboriginals created the Metis (mixed) community.  The strong presence of Scots in Canada meant that Scottish influence dominated many aspects of Canadian society well into the 19th century and beyond.  Until 1850, most Scottish emigrants went to Canada. 

A display on Scottish emigration to India and the East, Australia, and New Zealand.  Scots occupied important roles in British India as soldiers, administrators, and traders.
A display of pottery from a number of Glasgow-area potteries that operated from the late 18th century to the late 19th century, Delftfield Pottery Company, the Britannia Pottery Company Ltd, Verreville Pottery, Annfield Pottery, David Lockhart & Company, Caledonian Pottery, J & MP Bell & Company Ltd, and The Clyde Pottery.  Many of the items produced by these companies were destined for the export market, particularly Asia.

A display on the development of the travel and tourism industry in Scotland.  In the 19th century, wealthy Scots could afford to take holidays and go on outings using the new railways and steamboats.  Trips to the seaside increased in popularity and soon became affordable even for poorer people, while visits to English seaside resorts, such as Blackpool, also grew in popularity.  Displayed here are a number of souvenirs of Scottish holiday destinations, many fashioned out of wood and featuring keepsake images of memorable Scottish destinations.  These souvenirs were produced on an industrial scale by several Scottish manufacturers.   

The final Scottish history gallery, entitled 'Scotland: A Changing Nation', tells the story of Scotland from the First World War up to the present day.

A display case holds the bagpipes played by a Pipe Major of the Royal Scots Regiment at the Battle of the Somme in 1916; a bronze statuette of a Highland soldier sculpted in 1916; a copy of the Presbyterian devotional booklet, With the Colours: For God, King and Country, printed in English and Gaelic and issued to Scottish soldiers; the flag of 152 Brigade Headquarters of the 52nd Highland Division flown during the African campaign of the Second World War; a Smith and Wesson revolver carried in both world wars by Major William Barclay of the Royal Army Medical Corps; and a silver model of a Lancaster bomber presented to Air Chief Marshal Sir Ralph Cochrane, planner of the precision 'Dambuster' attacks on German cities and dams in 1943.   

The collection of First World War medals belonging to Sergeant-Piper Daniel Laidlaw of the 7th Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, including the Victoria Cross (far left) and the French Croix de guerre avec palme (far right).  During the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915, Sergeant-Piper Laidlaw's battalion was badly demoralised by the effects of poison gas.  In response, Laidlaw mounted the parapet of the trench in full view of the enemy and marched back and forth playing his bagpipes to rally his comrades, who emerged from the trench to continue the offensive.  Laidlaw continued playing his pipes until he was wounded.  For his act of bravery and disregard for his own safety, Sergeant-Piper Laidlaw was awarded the Victoria Cross. He survived the war and died in 1950 at age 74.

A hydraulic rivetting machine made by Sir William Arral & Company Ltd of Glasgow.  Invented for building the Forth Rail Bridge in the 1880s, hydraulic rivetting machines improved both the speed and affordability of construction. 

A display on the evolution of Scottish shipbuilding, which in the 1970s transitioned from a labour-intensive industry to a smaller but highly specialised one producing some of the most advanced ships in the world.  Family-run Scottish shipyards found it increasingly difficult to adopt new technologies and practices in the post-Second World War period, struggling to compete against foreign shipyards and becoming increasingly reliant on government subsidies.  The consolidation and shrinkage of the Scottish shipbuilding industry in the 1970s led to mass layoffs for thousands of shipyard workers.   

A model of the MV Cubahama, a freighter built by Henry Robb Ltd of Leith in 1938 for the Bahama Line of Charleston, South Carolina, USA.  The vessel carried bananas and other perishable goods from Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Florida coast.  Although most Scottish shipyards were located on the River Clyde, near Glasgow, shipbuilding continued in Leith, Fife, Dundee, and Aberdeen into the 1980s.

A model of Bustler, a salvage tug built by Henry Robb Ltd of Leith in 1942.  Bustler was one of eight such tugs built for the Admiralty to tow damaged Royal Navy ships to safety.  Henry Robb Ltd was established in 1917 and closed in 1983. 

A model of the Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring.  The six Type 45 guided missile destroyers were built by BAE Systems at Scotstoun and Govan in Glasgow and are equipped with powerful area air defence weapons.  They entered service between July 2009 and September 2013.  

A display on the Scottish fishing industry.  Although the waters around Scotland are some of the richest fishing grounds in the world and have supported local fishermen for centuries, concerns about over-fishing led to the industry being increasingly regulated from the 1980s in order to maintain seafood stocks at a sustainable level.

A display on the growth of Scotland's electronics industry, nicknamed 'Silicon Glen'.  The industry got its start in 1960 with the establishment of a semiconductor manufacturing plant in Glenrothes, Fife by the US-based Hughes Aircraft Corporation, attracted by government incentives for development.  Electronics manufacturing firms in Scotland often developed hand-in-hand with university research projects.  From the 1990s, Scottish high-tech companies working in the field of microelectronics often grew out of academic research carried out at Scottish universities.  Scottish electronics engineers played an important role in the development of ultrasound devices in 1960s, magnetic resonance imaging in the 1970s, and sound and image chips for mobile phones in the 21st century.  

A Hillman Imp Deluxe built by Rootes Motors (Chrysler) in Linwood, Renfrewshire, Scotland, July 1973.  The Rootes car factory opened in 1963 using steel from Ravenscraig in Lanarkshire; however, most auto parts were imported from England, which increased costs.  Additionally, although many unemployed engineering and shipyard workers found jobs at the Rootes factory, their resistance to assembly line production and attachment to old ways of working led to increasing discontent, resulting in 300 labour strikes between 1963 and 1969 alone.  Although the Linwood plants was capable of producing 150,000 cars per year, between 1963 and 1976 the factory produced a mere 440,000 automobiles.  With production at barely 50% of capacity, the Linwood factory was closed in 1981, with a sister plant producing trucks and tractors in Bathgate closing in 1986.   

A display on Scotland's most valuable (and famous) export: Scotch whisky.  Whisky is the world's top spirit drink and one of the top five export earners for the United Kingdom, with over 90% of production being sold abroad.  The largest export markets are the European Union, the United States, and Asia.  So dependent was the Scotch whisky industry on exports that when the United States government enforced prohibition between 1920 and 1933, 77 of the 112 Scottish distilleries operating in 1920 had closed by 1933.  The display case holds a whisky decanter that was on the cargo ship SS Politician, which grounded on the Hebridean island of Eriskay in 1941 while carrying 22,000 cases (264,000 bottles) of whisky bound for the United States.  A bottle of Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or whisky, a tasting glass, and a water jug is also displayed; because of its rich gold colour, this whisky is called 'Or', the word for 'gold' in both French and Gaelic.             

A 1940s poster for Dewar's 'White Label' Scotch whisky.  The company's White Label whisky was created in 1899 and has become its top-selling blend.  Exports of Scotch whisky in the post-war period earned valuable revenue for a war-ravaged and nearly bankrupt United Kingdom. 

A model of the Elgin-Franklin offshore oil and gas drilling rig owned by French energy company Total and located in the North Sea about 240 kilometres east of Aberdeen.  Oil extracted by the Elgin-Franklin rig is pumped through the Forties pipeline system to BP's Kinneil terminal at Grangemouth, Scotland, while gas is transported through the SEAL Pipeline to Bacton in Norfolk, England.  This section of the gallery, dealing with energy production, notes that the discovery of oil in the North Sea in 1966 and its exploitation beginning in 1975 led Aberdeen to become the 'oil capital of Europe'.  The oil industry profoundly changed the people and environment of Scotland, bringing unprecedented prosperity to the North East of Scotland, as well as the Orkney and Shetland Islands; however, it also brought catastrophe when 167 oil rig workers died when a massive explosion ripped through the Piper Alpha platform on 6 July 1988.  An inquiry blamed the disaster on poor maintenance and pressure to maximise oil and gas production.  With North Sea oil production having peaked in 1999, industry estimates predict that oil and gas extraction will continue to be economically viable until around 2030.   

The 'Discoveries' gallery connecting the museum's old and new buildings houses objects linked to the 'scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs which changed Scotland and the world'.

Wylam Dilly, the world's second-oldest surviving steam locomotive.  Wylam Dilly was built in 1813 by William Hedley and Timothy Hackworth and used to pull coal from the Wylam colliery to the river near Newcastle upon Tyne via the Wylam Waggonway.  Puffing Billy, the oldest surviving locomotive in the world and an 'older sister' to Wylam Dilly, is on display at the Science Museum in London.  

The 585th Morris Mini-Minor, built at the Morris Motors plant in Cowley, Oxford. It was driven in secret from the Oxford factory to the showroom of the Adam Purves & Son car dealership in the Scottish Borders town of Galashiels in order to be the first Mini on display on launch day in August 1959. This car was privately owned and operated in the Galashiels area for the next 21 years before being re-acquired by the dealer and restored. The iconic Mini was developed in response to gasoline rationing during the Suez Crisis of 1956 and cost £496 when launched in 1959 - comparable to the cost of other small cars.

In contrast to the Venetian Renaissance design of the façade of the Victorian-era building, the four-storey high Grand Gallery, constructed out of cast iron, was meant to evoke the industrial age modernism of the Crystal Palace at London's Great Exhibition of 1851.  The Grand Gallery contains an assortment of large objects from the museum's collection.

The modernist entrance to the Museum of Scotland building, opened in 1998.  Together with the former Royal Scottish Museum, it now forms the National Museum of Scotland.

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