Learning resources

These resources have been specially designed to support classroom teaching using National Library of Scotland collections.


Northern lights: The Scottish Enlightenment

Drawing of a man wearing a hat

Online learning resource for secondary school students featuring printed material, manuscripts, and maps, plus suggested activities, relating to the Scottish Enlightenment.

Curriculum areas: History (Advanced Higher)


A guid cause: The women's suffrage movement in Scotland

A suffragette

Activities for secondary school students on the topic of the women's suffrage movement in Scotland, includes documents from our collections and three suggested cross-curricular projects designed by teachers to support a Curriculum for Excellence and Standard Grade / Higher History topics.

Curriculum areas: History (Standard Grade, Higher, Advanced Higher).

Scotland on Screen

On the Scotland on Screen website you can view, analyse and discuss many historical film clips from the Library's Moving Image Archive. You can make use of the extensive learning resources designed by teachers from across Scotland and by Creative Scotland's lead practitioners in Moving Image Education.

Great escapes

Salen Hotel painting

Use 'Great escapes' to learn about an early travel guide 'Handbook for Travellers to Scotland', an insight into tourism in Scotland in the mid-19th century. Follow the teacher notes for running a cross-curricular local studies project in your area.

Curriculum Areas: Curriculum for Excellence: People, past events and societies.

Heroes: The splendid insights of Mr Smiles

Samuel Smiles

The 'Heroes' resource offers a series of cross-curricular lesson plans bringing history and citizenship together with drama inspired by Samuel Smiles, one of the first 'self-help' gurus. Includes downloadable PDF drama activities designed in partnership with Scottish Youth Theatre.

Curriculum areas: Curriculum for Excellence: People, past events and societies. History (Standard Grade, Higher).


Victorian history detectives

A downloadable schools resource pack. Uses unique documents from the John Murray Archive to explore the story of two important Victorian travellers, David Livingstone and Isabella Bird Bishop.

The pack is designed to develop history research skills and is useful for teaching the 'People, past events and societies' theme in Social Studies.


Read all about it!

A downloadable teachers pack. Draws on the National Library of Scotland's unique collection of newspapers, which range from the first broadsides of the 17th century to the tabloid press today.

The pack was designed for teaching pupils working within the 5-14 Curriculum for Environmental Studies, English, Maths, Geography and ICT, but is still useful for teaching 'A Curriculum for Excellence'.


Travellers tales of Scotland

A downloadable schools resource pack. Brings together unique source documents that help us to understand what it was like to travel around Scotland in the past. Uses diaries and journals, maps, advertisements and postcards to explore changing transport in Scotland.

It was designed for the 5-14 Curriculum, but is still useful for teaching 'People, past events and societies' in Social Studies.


History main page


Library video guides

Man using laptop seated at table

Watch our video guides to find out how to access National Library of Scotland resources from home, school or in person.

Library favourites

Iain Brown

Find out about the 18th century version of the gap year, known as 'The Grand Tour'. Watch video.

Library learning for you

If there's a topic you'd like more information about or if you have any suggestions for learning, email us.

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