Museum of Scotland neatly traces nation's history

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The Museum of Scotland, which opened here last winter, is the place to go to discover the people and the nation beyond bagpipes, whiskies and kilts.

The modern design of the building is considered striking by many, but whether or not people find the design appealing, most do not think it offends or overshadows its older neighbors. Inside, the welcome area is very open, bright and airy.

The four floors of the building are divided into eight levels. Visitors make their way along a spiraling time line that starts on the ground floor with the geological beginnings of Scotland.

From there, visitors stroll along and meet the people of prehistory, witness life under the Roman invaders, marvel at the changes brought about by industry and follow Scotland's route to its final union with England.

Miniature coffins and 19th century commemorative jewelry can be found in one of the more-visited exhibit areas, "Daith Comes In," which focuses on the rituals of burial and mourning.

The time line ends in today's Scotland, with displays of washing machines, Doc Martens boots, an incubator and other items that have made a significant impact on life at work, at home and at war.

The interactive setting enables visitors to explore in depth the aspects of Scotland's history that they find most captivating.

The museum's rooftop restaurant offers spectacular views and excellent cuisine, although the too-hip-to-care service could be improved.

The museum, located on Chambers Street, is open on Mondays and from Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

Admission is about $5 for adults; children 18 and under enter free. Admission is free to everyone on Tuesdays from 4.30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The museum's Web site also is worth a visit.

Museum of Scotland
Phone: (011) 44-131 225- 7534
Web: www.museum.scotland.net

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