Royal Museum

Chamber Street


The Royal Museum is a large Victorian building  in Chamber Street, Edinburgh. It was modelled on the Crystal Palace in London, and opened in 1886.

Proposed Development

It is proposed to modernise the building at a cost of 70m over a period of fifteen years, beginning possibly in 2008.

-  Two new entrances are to be created, one on each side of the large flight of steps leading to the current entrance

-  Lifts and escalators are to be installed to encourage more of the visitors to reach the upper floors.  [In 2003, only 4% of the visitors to the museum left the ground floor!]

Exhibition space is to be modernised.

-  The stuffed animals will be redisplayed, with a grand parade of animals as the centrepiece.

-  An early learning centre is to be built

-  A new lecture theatre will replace the existing theatre.

Lottery Funding

On 21 July 2005, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced an award of 16.8m towards  the proposed work.  Further substantial funding ex expected from the Scottish Executive.

If the balance of funding can be found for this 44.5m* project, it is expected that work could be completed by 2011.  An expansion of the exhibition space will allow many of the exhibits now in storage to be put on display.

* = subsequently revised to 46m


Scotland on Sunday:  21 November 2004
Edinburgh Evening News, 23 November 2004
 Herald & Post, 25 November 2004, 
Edinburgh Evening News,  21July 2005,  p.6


Update:  March 2010

Refurbishment Work

The revamp of the museum is still on target and on budget at the half-way stage.  More original features of the the Victorian building have been uncovered, behind the plasterwork.  These will be incorporated in the new design.

Scaffolding has been erected in the Grand Gallery to enable the roof to be redecorated.

Inside the Royal  Museum, Chamber Street, Edinburgh  -  2008

A new arrivals hall is being created at street level.  There will be an open view in the gallery all the way up from street level to roof level.

It is planned that the first exhibits will begin to be installed in a new gallery in August 2010 and that the whole museum will re-open in summer 2011.

Edinburgh Evening News:  March 15, 2010



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