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Paisley Museum transformation: first images

The first images have been revealed that show how Paisley Museum will become a world-class destination as it undergoes a £42m transformation into a leading European museum.

The museum is set to showcase a Scottish town whose influence reached around the globe. It will also be home to the museums’s internationally-significant collections and tell the stories of Paisley’s people and Pattern.

Additionally, when it reopens in 2022, the reimagined museum is expected to draw audiences from Scotland, the UK and abroad. Visitors numbers are predicted to almost quadruple to 125,000 a year.

Moreover the first reveal of images show how international architects AL_A, led by Stirling Prize winner Amanda Levete, plan to restore and reinvigorate the museum.

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What is being built?

The transformation includes

  • A fully accessible entrance courtyard and a dramatic red glazed entrance hall. This will  create 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, the oldest public observatory in Scotland. It will also house learning spaces and have views onto the new museum garden.
  • An attractive outdoor garden, creating a new public space for the town. This will open up previously-hidden views of the observatory. It will also reconnect it and the museum to the town’s High Street;
  • Internal renovations will improve accessibility and circulation too. They will deliver international environmental standards for gallery spaces, and allow the museum to more than double the number of objects on display to 1,200.
  • An interactive weaving studio keeping alive the town’s traditional textile skills.
Paisley Museum ReImagined external design

What are people saying?

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Few places of Paisley’s size can claim such global impact. The town created a global fashion icon. It was once the centre of the world’s textile industry and Paisley people have shaped the world for centuries with their creativity.

“The reopened museum will celebrate all of that and more, by using Paisley’s outstanding collections to retell the stories of those people, and give the world a reason to come back to Paisley.

“The museum is central to a wider investment in Paisley’s venues and outdoor spaces, embedding culture and events at the heart of how we are transforming our historic town centre and putting it back on the map as a destination.

“The beautiful images revealed today show how this wonderful historic building will at once be preserved and modernised, and ensure this proud symbol of Paisley’s past is at the heart of its future.”

Amanda Levete, principal of AL_A, said: “The brief for Paisley Museum is one of the most radical I’ve encountered. Paisley has a proud industrial past and a history of innovation and radical thinking. We have embedded this into our design to create an extraordinary place for the community of Paisley.”

Professor John Hume OBE, former Chair of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments Scotland, said: “I am thoroughly impressed by the thoughtful and sensitive approach of the architects to a remarkable group of buildings in a critical location for this unique place.

“At a time when there is a real risk of erosion of cultural experience, such interventions are of the utmost importance, and it is fitting Paisley should be at the forefront of what will be not just regeneration but also in the best sense, renaissance.”

The project is expected to create a £79m boost for the local economy over 30 years, with 138 jobs supported during construction. Additonally 48.5 jobs will be created per year through revenue and visitor spending.

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

Inside the New Entrance

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