Filter Menu

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Redevelopment of the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh


The recent redevelopment of the A-listed National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street, Edinburgh was the most comprehensive overhaul of the museum in over a century.

The client wanted the masterplan to create a world-class attraction, providing a cohesive visitor experience bringing to the fore many previously unseen wonders of the collection.

Spectacular vaulted cellar spaces, previously hidden from public view have formed an impressive new entrance hall improving access for all - an important requirement of the redevelopment. The creation of new displays and significantly enhanced visitor facilities have also been achieved.


Improvements to the energy performance of the building fabric of large historic buildings are generally very difficult to achieve. To enhance the thermal performance or airtightness of the grade-A listed facades would have been prohibitively expensive, and in many areas of this building practically impossible.

Each space was assigned a function to make the best use of energy, building form and structure. Some spaces, for example the Special Exhibition Gallery and Environmentally Controlled Store house sensitive artefacts that are vulnerable to changes in temperature and humidity. These controlled zones are housed in bespoke sealed 'boxes'. By contrast the traditional open balconied galleries, with natural daylight and fresh air ventilation, are used to display more resilient items from the collection.

National Museum Scotland

New air conditioning plant was installed that incorporates very high efficiency heat recovery. These systems capture heat from exhaust air then recycle this energy to heat incoming fresh air.

Significant improvements were also made in the control of energy use. Gallery heating circuits can now be monitored and controlled individually to reduce overheating and energy use. An integrated gallery control system operates both the exhibition lighting and the audio visual systems ensuring that lighting, interpretation panels, projectors etc. are automatically switched off each day.

The lighting scheme makes use of the latest low energy technology, including LEDs and high efficiency fluorescent lamps. Light levels in the galleries are kept as low as possible - primarily to protect sensitive objects, but this also helps to minimise energy use.

Back to index

Case Study

Download this case study (1.08 Mb)

Latest News

Have a look at the latest Retrofit Scotland news and events.