Renfrewshire Council

Paisley Museum image exterior

Paisley Museum Reimagined

Paisley Museum is being transformed into an international-class attraction housing the town's outstanding collections and bringing to the life the stories of its people, Pattern, and much more.

The name Paisley is already known around the world - soon the world will be coming back to Paisley to hear the inspirational tales of a town whose influence reached around the globe.

Paisley Museum is being transformed into a world-class attraction housing the town's outstanding collections and bringing to the life the stories of its people, Pattern, and much more.

The work is the flagship project within a £100m investment in venues and outdoor spaces aimed at using Paisley's unique and internationally-significant cultural and heritage assets to transform the area's future.

When it reopens in 2022, the revamped museum will bring visitors into the town from throughout Scotland, the UK and abroad. It is expected to attract 125,000 visits a year - almost four times current numbers - creating huge volumes of new footfall and trade for Paisley's town centre.

What is being built?

Paisley Museum new interior 1  Work is already under way at the museum and will continue until the building reopens in late 2022. The project will create the following:

- fully accessible entrance courtyard and a dramatic red glazed entrance hall, creating a dynamic and inviting presence on the High Street and a contemporary face for the museum;

- a new wing to the west of the existing building providing step-free access through the museum up to the Coats Observatory, containing learning spaces and with views onto the new museum garden;

- an attractive outdoor garden, creating a new public space for the town which could host outdoor events, and opening up previously-hidden views of the observatory while reconnecting it and the museum to the town's High Street;

- external and internal repairs to preserve the beautiful architectural features of the A-listed main building and the Coats Observatory, the oldest public observatory in Scotland;

Paisley Museum new interior 2 - an expansion of the museum into the space formerly occupied by Paisley Central Library, allowing us to double the number of objects from Paisley's internationally-significant collections (considered among the best in Scotland) which can go on show;

- internal renovations will improve accessibility and circulation, and deliver international environmental standards for gallery spaces;

- other features including a café-restaurant and shop, dedicated learning spaces, revamped heritage centre to study local history, and interactive weaving studio keeping alive our traditional textile skills;

Who is leading the redesign?

The project is being taken forward by Renfrewshire Council and led by a project team based within Renfrewshire Leisure, which will operate the reopened museum. The building is being redesigned by world-renowned architects AL_A - who have worked on landmark projects across the globe, including the V&A museum in London.

AL_A's founder - Stirling Prize winner Amanda Levete - described the Paisley Museum Reimagined project as "one of the most radical briefs I have read....this is not only about finding the way to best show the museum's collection, it's also about showing the world how an ambitious cultural project can have a profound impact on a community and its identity."

The Paisley Museum Reimagined project is being co-designed in partnership with the local community and the project team have already worked with hundreds of local people and groups to capture and help tell their stories.

The project includes funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Scottish Government's Regeneration Capital Grant Fund. The Paisley Museum Reimagined fundraising team will be running a public appeal to secure some of the remaining funding from trusts and private individuals

What will the benefits be?

Paisley Museum and Art Galleries  With a predicted 125,000 visitors a year, the project is expected to deliver the following:

- a £79m boost for the local economy over 30 years, with 138 jobs supported during construction, and 48.5 jobs per year through revenue and visitor spending;

- new footfall for the town centre, pulling people up the High Street, and bringing new trade into surrounding businesses;

- Paisley's profile and story reaching a Scottish, UK and international stage, and a boost to the town's reputation, civic pride and self-confidence;

What is in Paisley Museum's collections?

The museum was opened in 1871 and was designed by renowned Glasgow architect Sir John Honeyman. The building was gifted to the town by Sir Peter Coats of the Coats family, whose Paisley-based threadmaking empire stretched around the world, and whose family's largesse built much of the historic town centre still around us today.

Paisley Museum loom  Renfrewshire's collections are among the best in Scotland and include:

- including the world's largest collection of Paisley shawls and pattern books

- artwork from the world-renowned Glasgow Boys

- one of Scotland's best collections of studio ceramics

- a unique offering of mediaeval manuscripts dating back to before the Reformation

- a full volume of The Birds of America by John James Audubon - one of the most desirable and spectacular books ever produced

- much-loved artefacts including Buddy - a stuffed lion and recognisable talking point for generations of visitors

Most of the collections are being stored and are available to be seen at Paisley: The Secret Collection - the first publicly-accessible museum store on a UK high street.

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