National Museum of Scotland

A treasure trove of Caledonian and global history, the National Museum of Scotland is the relatively recent merging of two adjacent museums in Edinburgh’s city centre. Its first iteration came much earlier, however, when physician Robert Sibbald’s collection of natural history was permanently exhibited by the University of Edinburgh in 1697. Gradually, more and more individuals contributed to the quickly overflowing collection – even Charles Darwin and Prince Albert have lain their own touches onto the museum. By uniting the separate institutions, the collections also became one.

Throughout the labyrinthine walls capped by sky-high ceilings are curios from every field of human knowledge: ancient Egyptian artefacts rest under the same roof as the body of Dolly the Sheep; a famed set of 12th-century chess pieces face off in one room while a titanic sperm whale skull sits in the next. The range of items on display is simply staggering.

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