The University said the existing facility, housed on The Scores in St Andrews, has been extremely successful since its opening in 2008 as the centerpiece of the University’s museum service. MUSA has been consistently awarded the highest ranking of five stars under Visit Scotland’s Quality Assurance scheme – the only university museum in Scotland to do so.
However, the success of the museum means it is running at capacity, with the education space fully booked and insufficient space for a regular programme of temporary exhibitions.
The new £1.6 million extension will provide two new galleries for temporary exhibitions, greatly increasing the University’s ability to display its own collections and to host visiting exhibitions from prestigious galleries, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum. The smaller of the two spaces will allow the Museum Collections Unit to work more closely with local community groups to create exhibitions and for University academics to showcase their cutting edge research to the public.
While the major works are underway, MUSA will close from summer 2018 for around 18 months and digital resources will be launched to enable access to the collections during this period.
Emma Jane Wells, co-director of the Museum Collections Unit, said: “We are very excited about this development, which will be the largest change that MUSA has undergone since its opening 10 years ago.
“The two new exhibition spaces will allow us to extend and improve the exhibitions on offer, allowing us to display major travelling exhibitions from national and international institutions. It will also enable us to work more closely with community groups and schools as well as with the University’s own academics and students.
“While we are closed, two of the permanent galleries will also be completely re-modelled so that when we re-open in 2019, there will be even more for our visitors to see and enjoy.”
In addition, the works will add a new studio/workroom for seminar groups to study the museum’s collections and an improved environmental control system to precisely regulate conditions across the new and existing galleries, enabling the display of a greater variety of environmentally sensitive items.