Kilmartin Museum receives £3m lottery boost

Kilmartin MuseumKilmartin Museum in Argyll has taken a step closer to a multi-million pound refurbishment.

Located at the heart of Kilmartin Glen in Argyll - a landscape that boasts 800 known prehistoric and historic monuments - Kilmartin Museum currently cares for some of Britain’s oldest Bronze Age and Neolithic artefacts, dating back to at least 3,500 BC.

Now the attraction has edged closer to a £6.5 million redevelopment project to transform existing buildings and safeguard the collections for future generations after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) endorsed an application for a £3.1m grant - as well as awarding £400,000 to develop the plans further.

The museum’s redesign and expansion, designed by Reiach and Hall, will include a new exhibition gallery displaying never-before-seen prehistoric objects, an additional gallery for artworks and temporary exhibitions and an ambitious programme of cultural events and activities.

A new learning suite will contain a collection store, education space and laboratory, providing opportunities for volunteers, educational institutions, community groups and researchers to engage with Argyll’s internationally important archaeology.

Reiach & Hall director Neil Gillespie OBE said: “Kilmartin Glen is a very special place, remarkable not only for the number and quality of its archaeological sites but also for its wonderful west coast landscape and light.

“The Board and staff of Kilmartin Museum are not only totally committed to safeguarding these prehistoric and early historic artefacts, they are concerned with revealing them to us, not to mention also administering warm hospitality with a strong sense of community.”

Reflecting on the museum’s natural heritage and world-class prehistoric landscape, director and curator Dr Sharon Webb described the museum collection as holding “international importance”, offering “amazing insights into the lives of people who lived here”.

“We now collect and care for most of the archaeological artefacts found in Argyll and we’ve outgrown our current facilities,” she added of the current museum, which opened in 1997 in an adapted 18th century manse and ancillary farm buildings.

“We have the opportunity to gather Argyll’s archaeology in one place and ensure that it remains here. The Project will enable generations to enjoy the stories of the people who built the monuments and used the artefacts we’ve found in this wonderful place.”

A significant amount of funding for the project has already been pledged by partners and supporters and a major public fundraising campaign will be launched in the coming months to secure the remainder of the match funding required.

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