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Major milestone as Paisley Museum’s new entrance brings colour to site

It is Scotland’s biggest cultural heritage project and work on the £45 million refurbishment of Paisley Museum has reached a critical milestone, with the installation of its eye-catching glazed entrance facility.

The ‘red drum’, which consists of specially designed red panes shipped from Germany, has been put in place by contractors Keir, as construction on the new west extension of the original Victorian museum takes shape.

The ambition behind the project is to create a new, world-class museum space, shaped and focussed by, and for, the people of the town, celebrating its history and impact on the world, while creating a new community space that’s open and accessible to all. At its core, the museum will bring history to life, connecting it to today’s town and people, creating a vibrant and colourful new cultural thread, weaving together past, present and future.

Renfrewshire Provost, Councillor Lorraine Cameron was joined on site by OneRen’s Chair, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes to mark the milestone moment. Provost Cameron said: “Paisley Museum will be the crowning glory in a once-in-a-generation investment in Paisley’s cultural infrastructure that will breathe new life into the town. I’m blown away by the sheer scale of the project and the incredible ambition of the team which will create a world-class museum with community at its heart.

“It is going to be quite stunning and somewhere which the people of Paisley, Renfrewshire and beyond will be rightly proud of.”

Councillor Hughes, the Chair of OneRen, the charity which will manage the museum, said: “To stand in the new entrance, where next year we will be welcoming excited visitors to our incredible new museum, is a really special moment.

“Our expert museums team and our partners have worked on over 100 story displays, featuring more than 1,200 objects, more than double what was on display previously. I can’t wait to welcome visitors from Paisley, Scotland and beyond to see the results for themselves.”

With eight new public spaces, the new Paisley Museum will be filled with more than 60 digital displays and will be home to a new garden gallery, public courtyard, café and picnic areas.  The Thomas Coats Observatory – the oldest public observatory in Scotland – will be open and accessible to the public, its rich and vibrant history as both civic timekeeper and a truly remarkable, 150-year-old weather station, available to all.

While celebrating the area’s significant industrial past and the town’s importance, not least in textiles, weaving and exploring the origins and impacts of the famous Paisley pattern, the refurbished museum’s gallery spaces will increase by more than a quarter, with ambitious architectural and engineering interventions to welcome visitors to stunning indoor and outdoor spaces.

The museum refurbishment is funded by Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland. The project is being further funded by a charitable fundraising campaign that has been supported by a number of trusts and foundations and corporate donors.

The museum is expected to reopen in 2024. Renfrewshire Council is investing tens of millions of pounds in a once-in-a-generation refresh of its cultural estate. The £22 million refurbishment of Paisley Town Hall has been almost completed, with he Victorian masterpiece transformed into one of Scotland’s premier performance spaces. Paisley’s Central Library will move into a former retail space in the heart of the town’s High Street and will open in November, following £7 million of investment. Paisley Arts Centre will reopen in 2024, following a significant investment that will create a more intimate performance space for audiences and performers.

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