New Year funding and cheer has been shared across museums in Scotland this week as recipients were announced for allocation of grants through the Museum Galleries Scoltland (MGS) Museum Development Fund, which has been boosted by an additional £200k of capital funding from the Scottish Government. The investment support a wide range of projects in museums across the country, from restoring locomotives in Newtongrange to a collaborative digital exhibition for Orkney and Shetland.

The largest award of £60,000 has gone to Paxton House, Berwick Upon Tweed, for work relating to their Chippendale furniture collection, which was recently recognised as one of Scotland’s Nationally Significant Collections. With its award, Paxton House plans to improve their care of the collection and arrange a special exhibition in 2018 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Thomas Chippendale’s birth.

Among the other awardees is the Scottish Fisheries Museum, which received £58,219 for its ‘Tale of Two Boats’ project. The two vessels set to benefit from the project are Shirley 11, built in 1956 by J N Miller & Sons, and Research, a Zulu style fishing boat and the last surviving example of her type. Research was built in 1903 and fished as a herring drifter until 1968, as well as serving as a flit boat in World War II. Through the conservation and restoration of these two nationally significant boats, the Fisheries Museum will teach new skills in boat building to both staff and volunteers.

“Scotland has a rich cultural heritage and our many wonderful museums play a vital role in telling that story,” said Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External affairs, Fiona Hyslop. “That’s why the Scottish Government has supported Museums Galleries Scotland’s Museum Development Fund with an additional £200,000 of capital funding. These projects are all great examples of the tremendous work which museums do up and down Scotland, and I’m sure they will give great pleasure to visitors.”

Through the Museum Development Fund, MGS distributes a general funding grant from the Scottish Government as well as the ring fenced grants for capital projects and for Scotland’s Recognised Collections.

Joanne Orr, CEO of MGS, said: “Museums Galleries Scotland is pleased to be strengthening the resilience and long term sustainability of the Scottish museums sector by supporting such a diverse range of projects. This was a particularly strong round of applications, and the additional £200,000 from the Scottish Government enabled MGS to fund five capital projects that we would otherwise have been unable to support.”

Awards by geographical area

Argyll and Bute

Live Argyll £40,000 Campbeltown Museum Dedicated Entrance Project
– Kilmartin Museum Company Ltd (£40,000) Writing Kilmartin Glen’s Story – RIBA Stage 4 Exhibition Schematic (Technical Design)
– Auchindrain Trust – Urras Achadh an Droighinn (£23,416) Collections Management. Appointment of Assistant Curator for a period of one year.


East Ayrshire Leisure (£16,200) Content Management System. This MGS funding will enable the purchase of a new future-proof database for use across the museum service, as well as the necessary staff training.

The Borders

– Thirlestane Castle Trust (£40,000) Relocating the Toy Collection and Muniments at Thirlestane Castle
– Live Borders (£40,000)  Jim Clark Museum Trophy Display for new museum, opening in 2019
– Paxton Trust (£60,000) Raising collections care standards and increasing access to the Chippendale furniture collection at Paxton House

Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway Council (£58,511) Broadening the appeal – Robert Burns. The main exhibition gallery at the Robert Burns Centre will be redisplayed.


Dundee Heritage Trust (Dundee Industrial Heritage Trust) (£58,660) Dundee Heritage Trust will employ an Audience Engagement Officer at Discovery Point for a period of two years. This project is timed to maximise the impact of a major refurbishment of the galleries, to build on success of a similar project at the High Mill, and to establish a way or working with the new V&A.

Edinburgh & the Lothians

City of Edinburgh Council (£59,062) The Museum of Childhood will create a Childhood Champions Team of young people and a series of volunteer and work placement opportunities. They will also employ a coordinator to manage this work over 18 months.

National Mining Museum Scotland (£32,677) Redisplaying Locomotives at Lady Victoria Collier. This MGS funded project will see two locomotives conserved, one from the Scottish Railway Preservation Society and one from the Mining Museum.


Scottish Fisheries Museum Trust( £58,219) The funding will enable the museum to develop their boat-restoration activity. They will focusing on two boats in particular and employing an Assistant Boatyard Manager.


Glasgow Life, Glasgow Museums (£39,877) Partnering with Art UK to drive income for Scottish collections through a shared e-commerce platform


The Highlanders’ Museum (Queen’s Own Highlanders Collection) (£21,750) This grant from MGS will enable The Highlanders’ Museum to refurbish the entrance of the museum and relocate their shop so that visitors have to pass through it in order to exit.


CultureNL (£26,840) Upgrading Storage of Large Objects in the Recognised Collection

Orkney & Shetland

Shetland Amenity Trust (£19,135) New Connections across the Northern Isles: Linking people and heritage through the maritime cultures of Orkney and Shetland

Outer Hebrides

Ness Historical Society – Comunn Eachdraidh Nis (40k & £40k) Ness Historical Society has been awarded funding for two separate projects relating to the conversion of a derelict school house building for museum purposes.

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MSG Grants Programme

For more information about MGS’s grants programme, visit its funding page.