£3.8m lottery windfall for Paisley Museum overhaul

Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, and Martyn Wade, a member of the Scotland committee at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, look over the plans for the revamped museum.
Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, and Martyn Wade, a member of the Scotland committee at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, look over the plans for the revamped museum.
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Plans to showcase a Renfrewshire town’s unique textile heritage via a new, world-class museum have received a major funding boost after the National Lottery Heritage Fund pledged nearly £4m towards the venture.

A major redevelopment of Paisley Museum aims to transform its four buildings into a series of new contemporary galleries and exhibition spaces which allow curators to double the number of objects on display.

The institution, Scotland’s original municipal museum and home to the country’s first public observatory, is being redesigned and extended as part of a £42m project, which is due to be completed in 2022.

When it reopens, visitors are promised new exhibitions celebrating the famous Paisley pattern textile, charting its evolution from 19th century Kashmir shawls to modern day catwalks.

Those behind the scheme welcomed the £3.8m in lottery funding, and said it would help bring the town’s historic assets to new generations.

Lisa-Marie Hughes, an SNP member of Renfrewshire Council and chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, 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.”

She added: “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 redeveloped museum will feature learning zones, improved social spaces, a cafe, shop and cloakroom facilities, along with a new entrance surrounded by a courtyard and gardens.

It is expected to draw 125,000 visitors a year - almost four times current numbers and it is anticipated it will lead to a £79m economic boost for the area over 30 years.

Caroline Clark, director for Scotland at 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."

The original museum building, designed by Sir John Honeyman, was gifted to the town by thread manufacturer Sir Peter Coats.