AL_A’s reimagination of Paisley Museum gets £3.8m lottery funding boost

Plans to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class visitor destination have taken a major step forward with the announcement of £3.8 million of support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

AL_A’s reimagination of Paisley Museum gets £3.8m lottery funding boost

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, and Martyn Wade, Scotland Committee member, the National Lottery Heritage Fund

The four buildings which make up Scotland’s first municipal museum, including the country’s first public observatory, will be ambitiously re-designed and extended by an international team, including the architects AL_A and exhibition designers Opera Amsterdam, to create an exciting new experience for visitors.

New and rejuvenated galleries will double the number of objects on display and be fully accessible so that visitors can explore the town’s rich heritage and its part in the story of the famous teardrop Paisley Pattern textile, from the shawls of Kashmir to the haute couture of rock stars. Inspiring learning zones, improved social spaces, a new cafe, shop and cloakroom facilities will add to the Museum’s appeal, as will a new, welcoming entrance courtyard and gardens.

The revamped museum is forecast to attract 125,000 visits a year, almost four times the current numbers, and create a £79m economic boost over 30 years. It is the cornerstone of Renfrewshire Council’s vision to bring new life to the town through investment in heritage and culture. This has included the opening of the UK’s first publicly accessible high street museum store, Paisley: The Secret Collection, and the conservation and repair of key buildings which make up the town’s historic core through a scheme funded with £2m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Caroline Clark, director Scotland of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “This project has been driven by the passion of the Paisley community to put their unique heritage on an international stage. With the help of National Lottery funding, new life will be breathed into these heritage buildings giving Paisley’s wonderful textiles and other treasures the prominence they deserve, while also bringing a new confidence to the town.”

AL_A’s reimagination of Paisley Museum gets £3.8m lottery funding boost

(from left) Jules O’Brien (Kairos volunteer), Cllr Lisa Marie Hughes, Victoria Hollows (chief executive, Renfrewshire Leisure); Katy Wilson-Scott (Kairos manager); Cath Gibson (Kairos volunteer), and Martyn Wade

Amanda Levete, director of AL_A, said: “This Heritage Fund grant is testament to the great energy shown by Renfrewshire Council and the people of Paisley, who have worked tirelessly to share their rich heritage of which they are justifiably proud. Paisley Museum Reimagined will show how an ambitious project can have a profound impact on a community and its identity – and how Paisley’s history of innovation, radical thinking and great philanthropy will be used to inspire new generations.” 

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, said: “We want to thank everyone connected to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their fantastic support.

“It will help us deliver a world-class museum which will take the town’s unique and fascinating stories to new audiences, showcase Paisley’s internationally-significant collections, and bring new life and footfall to the wider area.

“It will create a new accessible hub at the heart of life in the town for the local community - local groups are already co-producing the incredible stories which will populate the reopened museum, and we look forward to continuing to work with The National Lottery Heritage Fund and others over the years ahead to deliver on that.”

The new museum is expected to open in 2022.

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