Our Outreach Service takes the museums out into the community. We enable participation in museum activities and engage with those who, for whatever reason, do not already access our services.

The Outreach Programme aims:

  • To place local people at the heart of all we do
  • To engage with new audiences and enable access to museum resources 
  • To develop innovative, strategic projects, working with communities as equal partners to increase engagement with our collections
  • To offer a range of materials for loan to communities
  • To evaluate our programmes to improve future provision

We have a range of handling boxes which can be borrowed for use with your group. These include loan boxes for schools and reminiscence boxes for older people’s groups. You can see a full list of boxes available below.

We can also develop projects with communities and offer facilitated talks and activities in community venues for schools and community organisations within the City of Edinburgh Council area. These include working with community organisations and offering object handling, art and exhibition development activities.

We can offer reminiscence sessions with older people’s groups and activities for schools. Popular topics for schools include toys in the past and Victorians. We can also offer training on the use of our resources.

Please see past projects for examples of previous work or visit the Outreach blog.

Contact us

To find out more or to book about any outreach services please contact diana.morton@edinburgh.gov.uk or phone 0131 529 6365.

Handling Boxes

Our handling boxes are split into loan boxes (aimed at schools) and reminiscence boxes (aimed at older people’s groups), however they can be borrowed by any community organisation.  The service is free and boxes can be borrowed for up to two weeks. Please note we are unable to deliver handling boxes. The boxes can be picked up at the City Art Centre any time during opening hours (Wednesday-Saturday 10am - 5pm and Sunday 12noon -5pm ) and on Monday and Tuesday by prior arrangement. Please book at least one week in advance to avoid disappointment.

Loan boxes for schools

  • World War 2
  • Victorians
  • Traditional
  • Games
  • Schools and Schooldays
  • Toys (3 boxes available)
  • 18th Century Edinburgh
  • Edwardians
  • Faith and Festivals: World Religions
  • 1950s Romans
  • Japan
  • Play in South Asia

Reminiscence boxes for older people’s and adult groups

  • Life in the Home
  • Keeping Clean and Healthy
  • Leisure and Going Out
  • World War 2Work
  • Street Games
  • Schooldays
  • Sports and Hobbies
  • Trips, Treats and Celebrations
  • The Baby
Wee Museum of Newhaven

Current / Past Projects

Art in the City

Art in the City supports people with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers to visit museums and art galleries in Edinburgh. The visits take place once a month and we always offer a cup of tea or coffee and a tour. To join the group or find out more please contact Diana Morton diana.morton@edinburgh.gov.uk to be added to the mailing list.

Proud City

LGBTQIA+ Edinburgh was a community project and exhibition at the People’s Story Museum. The exhibition was developed working in partnership with local LGBTQIA+ groups, in particular, LGBT Health and Wellbeing. This programme also offered a range of volunteering opportunities. It was funded by the Museums Association’s Transformers scheme funded in Scotland by Museums Galleries Scotland.

Read more about the project


Crossings was a project developed by Dancebase in partnership with Museums & Galleries Edinburgh and Historic Environment Scotland. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Three groups of young people learned about the heritage of Leith through visits to the Museum Collections Centre, the City Art Centre and Trinity House (Historic Environment Scotland). The groups then worked with dance artists,  filmmakers and a sound artist to create new dance films which explored the history of Leith and its people.

The objects chosen by the groups and the dance films were then displayed at Leith Library, Dancebase and the People’s Story Museum.

Find out more about the project and watch the films

Citizen Curator

Citizen Curator was a two-year outreach project funded by Leith Townscape Heritage Initiative and developed to engage young people with the heritage of Leith. We worked in partnership with local artist Duncan Bremner.

The project worked with community organisations to explore museum and gallery collections relating to the local area. The project cumulated in an exhibition at the City Art Centre, where items chosen by the young people were displayed alongside contemporary responses. The exhibition fused art, history, contemporary collecting, participants’ artworks and documentary film.

Watch a webinar on the project below or read a case study.

The Wee Museum of Newhaven

The Wee Museum of Newhaven is a permanent exhibition space in Victoria Primary School. It was developed as part of an intergenerational project with pupils and the local community. You can visit the Wee Museum by appointment: please phone the school on 0131 476 7306 to book.

The museum was first developed in winter 2010. The pupils researched local history by visiting the Haven, an older people’s group at Newhaven Church. They discussed memories of the area and one group member later visited the school to share his memories. A group of children then visited the museum stores to select objects for their exhibition. The first exhibition, Fishwives and School Lives, opened in the school in January 2011 with a big community event.

There have been several exhibitions in the Wee Museum of Newhaven including: Boat Building in 2011, Teddies, Trains and Tops in 2013 and the Disappearing Sea in 2014, working in partnership with Citizen Curator.

You can read a case study here.

Museums Alive: Accessing Collections; Creating Connections

From 2011 until 2017,  volunteers with Museums Alive worked in care homes, day centres and supported housing to carry out art, reminiscence and music activities linked to museum collections.

The project aimed to engage with older people who may have been unable to visit our venues and to improve wellbeing by offering meaningful activities and social interaction.

Museums Alive was a partnership project between the museums and Health and Social Care (both part of the City of Edinburgh Council).

In 2014 the Museums Alive volunteers won the Scotland regional award at the Marsh Trust awards for Volunteers for Museum Learning.

Read case studies on Eurocities and Museums Association