Visit the free exhibitions in our George IV Bridge Building. Open daily, except on some public holidays. No need to book.


Game of Crowns: The 1715 Jacobite rising

10 December to 10 May

'Crown of blood' illustration

Treachery, power struggles, royal in-fighting and religious wrangling are all reflected in the 'Game of Crowns' exhibition at the National Library of Scotland.

The exhibition tells the story of the 1715 Jacobite rising as the 300th anniversary approaches. Using contemporary records, books, maps, portraits and songs, it explains this turbulent period of British history.

One of the documents on display will be the order for the massacre of Glencoe in 1692, when 38 members of the clan MacDonald were slaughtered because of their suspected Jacobite sympathies.

The attempt to restore the Stuart dynasty to the throne ended in defeat with James VIII — the Old Pretender — returning to exile in France. Thirty years later, his son, Bonnie Prince Charlie, suffered a similar fate with the failure of the 1745 uprising.

The exhibition looks in detail at the period from 1688 to 1715 and the fierce contest for Crown of Great Britain, closing with a look ahead to 1745.


Treasures displays

Photo of the Forth rail bridge being built

View a small sample of the many treasures in NLS collections. From hand-written documents to printed books, maps, musical scores, bindings and other art work.

All our treasures are important pieces of Scotland's cultural heritage. Some are unique. Some are beautiful. Some are huge. Some are tiny. Some are rarely seen in public because their age makes them fragile.

Throughout the year we will change the theme of the treasures display, bringing to light more of the millions of items we hold.


The John Murray Archive

Permanent exhibition.

Lady Caroline Lamb
Lady Caroline Lamb.

The writers and thinkers of John Murray's publishing firm shaped the modern world through their works of literature, science, exploration and politics.

This exhibition draws on material from the John Murray Archive. It uses state-of-the-art exhibition technology to bring to life the work and lives of a selection of the publisher's most influential figures.

Those featured in the present line-up include Lord Byron, Lady Caroline Lamb, Charles Darwin and David Livingstone.

Learn how they contributed to one of the greatest periods of human progress and creativity. See if you could publish your own international bestseller.


Opening times for exhibitions at NLS

Monday to Friday: 10.00-20.00
Saturday: 10.00-17.00
Sunday: 14.00-17.00

Festive season opening hours


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