Elegant Chambers St is dominated by the long facade of the National Museum of Scotland. Its extensive collections are spread between two buildings: one modern, one Victorian – the golden stone and striking architecture of the new building (1998) make it one of the city's most distinctive landmarks. The museum's five floors trace the history of Scotland from geological beginnings to the 1990s, with many imaginative and stimulating exhibits. Audio guides are available in several languages. Fees apply for special exhibitions.
The modern building connects with the original Victorian museum, dating from 1861, the stolid, grey exterior of which gives way to a beautifully bright and airy, glass-roofed exhibition hall. The old building houses an eclectic collection covering natural history, archaeology, design and fashion, science and technology, and the decorative arts of ancient Egypt, the Islamic world, China, Japan, Korea and the West.