Residents encouraged to engage with development of new Museum of Aberdeenshire

Residents encouraged to engage with development of new Museum of Aberdeenshire

Residents across the region are being encouraged to get engaged with the development of a new Museum of Aberdeenshire.

The ambitious Aberdeenshire Council project is being supported with £20 million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund which focuses on the development of a Museum of Aberdeenshire and a new Peterhead Library centred around the vacant Arbuthnot House.

It will see the B-listed Arbuthnot House sensitively restored and linked to a striking new extension to house both the town’s library and a new museum showcasing Aberdeenshire’s extensive heritage collections and artwork.

Live Life Aberdeenshire, who will be operating the new museum, are keen to hear from residents and communities across the shire about what stories and objects could be included in the new development.

New state-of-the-art galleries will offer much more space to display many of the area’s treasures from Aberdeenshire Museums Collection that are currently in storage. From natural history to archaeology, social history to art, many more items unique to the area will be on display than ever before.

There will be space to tell old and new stories and better represent the ever-changing people and places that have made, and continue to make, Aberdeenshire what it is today.

An online survey is seeking ideas on the museum, potential exhibitions, displays and activities, catering and retail offers.

Life Life Aberdeenshire staff will also be in-person at the following locations this month and in May with more information about the project and are keen to hear from local residents:

  • Deveron Centre, Banff – Monday, April 29 – 12noon-5pm
  • Fraserburgh Community & Sports Centre – Tuesday, May 14 – 12noon-5pm
  • Ellon Library – Thursday, May 2 - 12noon-5pm
  • Inverurie Library – Wednesday, May 1 - 12noon-5pm
  • Stonehaven Library – Friday, May 17 - 12noon-5pm
  • Banchory Library– Monday, May 20 - 12noon-4.30pm
  • Huntly Library– Friday, May 10 - 10am-2pm

The new attraction will be the council’s first shire-wide museum for the area and will provide many opportunities for local communities from across Aberdeenshire to learn about the heritage of their area as well as offering visitors a state-of-the-art environment in which to absorb the full breadth and richness of the region’s stories and past.

Multi-purpose and workshop spaces will support participation and learning. A new dedicated exhibition gallery will accommodate both temporary and touring national exhibitions and also act as a functions space for individual and corporate events

There will be a new café with an outside terrace, and a small retail area linked to the museum. Purpose-built galleries will allow hundreds more objects to be displayed, supported by creative interpretation including music, interactives, Doric and film. The council’s Museums team will be able to change the displays on a regular basis and work with community groups to co-curate displays and exhibitions.

There will be a gallery to focus on the coastal town of Peterhead, with many other spaces showcasing objects, material and stories from across Aberdeenshire.

The existing Arbuthnot Museum and Library building on the town’s St Peter Street will be restored and refurbished.

Aberdeenshire Council leader, Councillor Gillian Owen, said: “I am delighted to see this project progressing and I am impressed by the initial designs for the Museum of Aberdeenshire. This will be a museum for the whole shire, showcasing the inspiring individuals, sensational stories and amazing artefacts that make the north-east unique. Through the Levelling Up funding we will be able to enhance, develop and future-proof our tourist and cultural offerings in the north of the region which will have tremendous benefits for the wider economy of Aberdeenshire.”

Depute leader Councillor Anne Stirling, added: “This innovative and very ambitious project in the very heart of Peterhead town centre will support the north-east economy through the enhancement of the tourism offering across Aberdeenshire and provide opportunities for businesses which are to be greatly welcomed. I would encourage communities across Aberdeenshire to get involved in our engagement programme and let us know what’s important for you in terms of our rich cultural and heritage so we can make this new regional museum a real jewel in the north-east crown.”

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