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National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh

Chambers Street
Scotland EH1 1JF
Tel: 44 131 247 4422's insider take:

One building is 19th-century, the other modern, but a link between these neighboring museums makes it possible to walk from the past to the present. The Royal Museum is in a stately Victorian building which reopened in 2011 following a complete refurb. It has a huge entrance hall bathed in natural light and holds a collection of decorative arts and exhibits from science and industry, archaeology, and the natural world. Time your visit to the chiming of the 32-foot Millennium Clock, a kinetic masterpiece in the Main Hall (11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.). Opened in 1998 in a modern-day castle, the Museum of Scotland covers Scotland's history from the burial practices of its earliest inhabitants to the modern-day scientific pioneers who created the world's first cloned mammal: Dolly the sheep, whose remains are now stuffed for posterity and exhibited.

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