The renovation project is aiming to catapult Paisley Museum into the realm of leading European cultural destinations, while continuing to tell the stories of the region’s people as it has since 1871. The organisation has set a target of almost quadrupling visitor numbers to 125,000 per year by attracting new audiences – both domestically and overseas.

The brief put forward for this ambitious overhaul by Paisley Museum has been described by Amanda Levete, Principal of AL_A, as “one of the most radical” she has ever encountered.

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Paisley Museum
The anticipated exterior view of Paisley Museum in 2022 © Renfrewshire Council/AL_A

The work forms part of Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in venues and outdoor spaces, aimed at promoting Paisley’s “unique and internationally-significant cultural heritage”. It is hoped the project could boost the local economy by up to £79m over three decades, with 138 jobs being supported during the construction and, once open, 48.5 jobs being financed annually through revenues and visitor spending.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, noted: “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.”

Paisley should be at the forefront of what will be not just regeneration but also in the best sense, renaissance.

Professor John Hume OBE
Paisley Museum
A model depicts the future aerial view of the museum © Renfrewshire Council/AL_A

Paisley Museum Reimagined, the project specific to the renovation, has also received Round One funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

Ringing the changes

The renovated Paisley Museum will be home to:

A fully accessible entrance courtyard and red glazed entrance hall

A new wing to the west of the existing building, providing step-free access through the museum to the Coats Observatory

An outdoor garden, creating a new public space for the town and opening up previously-hidden views of the observatory

Internal renovations to improve accessibility and circulation, 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, as a nod to town’s textile heritage

Professor John Hume OBE, former Chair of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments Scotland, said: “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.”

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