Sharing our Members’ museum stories

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I have always loved National Museums Scotland and from speaking with our supporters, I know that I am far from alone in that regard. The support and stories sent to us in the past few weeks have reaffirmed just how powerful our connection is to our national museums. 

Our museums have played a huge part in my life since I was little, and I have so many happy memories attached to the buildings and objects in our care.  

Some of my earliest memories are of clambering up the steps on Chambers Street to visit the National Museum of Scotland with my dad, and thanks to these special early experiences, our museums are still a huge part of my life today.  

While our museums have been a treasured constant in my own life, the recent messages of memories and highlights from our supporters have really showcased that as well as being home to our collection of 12 million objects, our museums provide the backdrop to millions of our visitors’ stories and experiences – and none more so than our fantastic Members. 

Our Members are at the heart of our Museums – their support means that we can continue to care for our remarkable collections and to share them with people today, and for generations to come. 

Every day, thanks to them, we can discover something new, whether it’s learning how an object was crafted and used thousands of years ago, how a unique treasure travelled over the sea to Scotland or how our natural world is evolving day by day.  Through their close connection to our work, Members are also able to make their own discoveries and create their own memories to share  with the people they care about.  

Since we closed our doors, we’ve been moved by messages of support and encouragement from our Members. Something that has meant so much to us all is that these messages have included happy memories of times spent with friends and family at our museums and stories of why National Museums Scotland, and their Membership, means so much to them.  

I have the pleasure of sharing some of these stories with you below: 

The museum in Chambers Street has been a big part of my life since I had my first child way back in the eighties. We lived in Marchmont and the museum was a very pleasant walk away over the Meadows. It was the best place to be on a wet, miserable day. There was so much to see and my son loved pressing all the buttons and walking around in comparative freedom (…) Fast forward to the present and I can still be seen popping in for a quick visit in my lunch break or taking my grandchild there for the afternoon…. I have had my membership card now for quite a number of years and consider it money well spent.  

Thank you for providing such a thought-provoking, inspirational and creative space to visit.  Long may it continue.  

Meg Grozier   

I have the most wonderful memories of the museum. As a child I loved the revolving doors that took me into a new world of mystery and magic () The fish swimming in the pools into what is still one of the most beautiful atriums in the world (The museum still has the power to uplift my spiritsto discover the new and rediscover old favourites.  

What a place!!!!  

Morag Sutcliffe  

The National Museum of Scotland is so very special to me as it was somewhere I visited with my father throughout my life. He loved history and passed on his enthusiasm for this to all of his children. 

Since I retired 5 years ago, it has been delightful to be able to regularly visit the museum with various friends and family and enjoy the wide range of small and large exhibitions and collections. 

As a boy in the 1930s my father used to visit the museum to draw the classical statues. He said this inspired him to take up body building and weightlifting while working in the shipyards in the west of Scotland in the 1920s-50s as a fitter and turner. Indeed he equalled the Scottish weightlifting record in his class as a young man. He never told his friends that his goal was to develop his body to look like the Greek Gods he saw at the museum! 

The museum is a very beautiful space full of fascinating collections and is itself a real treasure for Scotland.

M Niven

My membership of the museum is special to me because it gives me a sense of peace and relaxation. Whether it is sitting quietly at the Balcony Cafe having a cup of tea or wandering round the various exhibitions and showcases, it’s all lovely. As a child my family and I visited Edinburgh every 2 years and always came to the museum where we were entranced with the section full of animals and the trains that we could push buttons and make move. That and the Van de Graaff generator are wonderful abiding memories.  

Thank you.   


I have been frequenting the National Museum ever since I moved to Edinburgh to study medicine in 1966. Of course the Medical School was in Teviot Place in those days, so we often popped into the museum for a short time, and often for lunch in the old cafeteria – Scotch pie, mash and baked beans, followed by a yoghurt and coffee if we felt flush.  

I encountered my first Gamelan orchestra at the National Museum of Scotland – players sitting cross legged on the stage of the lecture theatre. I’ve also celebrated the Film Festival opening reception in the Grand Gallery – great space and buzz.  

I have lived and worked in Edinburgh ever since and enjoyed taking my children to the museum: now it is my grandchildren! I also enjoy East Fortune on a fine day.  

As a member I go to as many exhibitions as I can, and the very interesting talks. How the museum has improved its presentation and interactive section for children (big and small) !  

I hope to go on enjoying the Museum for many years to come.  

Penny McKee   

It has been so uplifting to receive these stories and to share them with our colleagues – thank you to everyone who has written to us.  

At a time when we all miss our museums, it has meant so much to us to read about the objects, places and experiences that you’ve enjoyed. 

We can’t wait to re-open our doors, once it’s safe to do so, so that we can all continue to make new discoveries and create new happy memories with our loved ones. 

The support our Members give means that we can continue to care for our remarkable collections and to share them with people today, and for generations to come. If you would like to support National Museums Scotland please consider joining us or making a donation today. 

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