Gallery of the Day: Patterns of Life

August 18, 2011


The first World Cultures gallery that we visited (not counting Imagine) on our day by day trip around the new National Museum of Scotland galleries was Patterns of Life:

“From America to Asia, possessions reflect identity and mark important life events. They are personal or communal expressions of the diversity of cultures and traditions. Getting ready to face the day, celebrating a coming of age, or mourning the death of a loved one – there are patterns of life that connect us all.” (gallery intro panel)

As it’s a ground floor gallery’s expected to be visited by a lot of families, it has quite a few interactives.  The gallery is divided into four areas: Asia, Africa, The Middle East, and The Americas. The themes of the gallery run across all geographical locations and include life cycle customs (birth, marriage, death), family life, personal belongings (body decoration, eating together, going out, beauty sleep), and the power of clothing.

Click on the thumbnails to view the images in full size.


  • Mercedes Benz coffin
  • Turkish wedding set
  • Kiowa battle dress

Things to do

  • Look behind the doors in the ‘Family Belonging’ map to see how people around the world live.
  • Mix and match clothing from around the world in the ‘Power Dressing’ activity.
  • Feel different materials in ‘Fabric of Life’ (my 9 month old also really enjoyed this)
  • Look inside the pots and pans to smell ‘What’s Cooking;.
  • Match themes of celebration, dress, childhood and mealtimes in the ‘Connections’ game.
  • Watch one of the two short films on wedding traditions or colourful markets from around the world. Or watch both!


* Please note that these are my own personal highlights and not necessarily recommended as such by the museum.


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