Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone through a wide range of artefacts, documents and artworks

New research, combined with the museum’s spectacular African collections and a collection of Livingstone’s personal possessions all help tell the story of Livingstone's exploration of the African continent; his efforts to abolish the slave trade; his untiring missionary work; and his campaign to introduce lawful commerce in the continent.

An essay on the museum's website sums up David Livingstone's legacy as follows:

'Livingstone spent 30 years in Africa. During that time he travelled over 46,000 km, mostly on foot, discovering previously unknown wonders and vastly increasing European knowledge of the geography of the continent. His passionate denouncement of slavery did much to incite support for its abolition, while the passages he navigated allowed missionaries to introduce new forms of health care and education, and traders to increase commerce.

'To this day he is respected and loved in many of the areas he visited, particularly Malawi, which has retained strong connections with Scotland.

'When Chitmabo’s people returned the explorer’s body to Britain, they sent with it a note that read: ‘You can have his body, but his heart belongs to Africa.’ How right they were.'

National Museum of Scotland

Chambers Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH1 1JF

0300 123 6789


Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5pm 26 Dec and 1 Jan, 12 – 5pm Closed 25 Dec

Free to all

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