Northern Lights: The Scottish Enlightenment
21 June 2019 to 18 April 2020
Scotland's leading role in the intellectual and scientific progress of the late 18th century is explored in 'Northern Lights'.
In 18th-century Scotland, social and professional networks allowed great thinkers to share and develop ideas, facilitating an Enlightenment phenomenon across all academic subjects.
From philosophy to science, religion to architecture, literature to sociability, advancements were made in different fields at various levels of society.
Using the Library's unparalleled collection of materials, including printed books, manuscripts and maps, the Scottish Enlightenment is revisited using a thematic approach.
The contributions of notable figures including Adam Smith, David Hume, William Robertson and Robert Burns are recognised through their works in the Library collections.
Read more about the 'Northern Lights' exhibition.
- At the Water's Edge: Photographs from the MacKinnon Collection — 16 November to 15 February 2020
View a small sample of the many treasures in the National Library of Scotland's 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 change the theme of the treasures display, to bring to light more of the millions of items we hold.
Occasionally we exhibit material on loan from other organisations to complement treasured items from our own collections.
Read more about our treasures displays.
Discover the breadth of the Library's collections through our series of free displays, touring Scotland throughout the year.
- 'You are here': Find your way through the world of maps
- 'Going to the pictures': Discover the story of cinema in Scotland
- 'Lifting the lid': Learn about the history of food and drink in Scotland
Read more about our touring displays.
Opening times for exhibitions
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 09.30-19.00
- Wednesday: 10.00-19.00
- Friday, Saturday: 09.30-17.00
- Sunday: Closed