Renfrewshire Council

Paisley Museum and Art Galleries

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 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 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?

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

- a leading European museum telling the stories of how Paisley's people and pattern helped change the world, drawing audiences from Scotland, the UK and abroad;

- a new-build extension plus complete internal redesign and restoration of all museum buildings - including the Coats Observatory, the oldest public observatory in Scotland;

Paisley Museum loom - reshaped interior doubling capacity for Paisley's internationally-significant collections to go on show - with local communities helping shape how the collections are reinterpreted and displayed;

- a community and educational resource at the heart of life in Paisley;

- an interactive weaving studio keeping alive Paisley's traditional textile skills, and a revamped heritage centre to study local history;

- an attractive outdoor museum garden and terrace allowing for outdoor activities and opening up views from the High Street up to the observatory;

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.

What will the benefits be?

With a predicted 125,000 visitors a year, the project is expected to deliver the following:

- a £72m economic boost for the local economy over 30 years, with 138 jobs supported during construction, and 42 jobs per year through 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.

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

Buddy the Lion  - 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.

Paisley Museum Reimagined includes funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Scottish Government's Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

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