Milestone reached in campaign to transform Paisley Museum

A fundraising campaign to support the work to transform Paisley’s museum into a world-class visitor attraction has passed the £1 million milestone.

The Paisley Museum Reimagined (PMR) Ltd charity is raising the final money needed to complete the £45 million revamp, believed to be Scotland’s biggest current heritage project.

The museum campus has been redesigned by architects AL_A.

The cash raised so far by the PMR charity includes six-figure support from charitable trusts including a pledge of £300,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, plus funding from the Hugh Fraser Foundation (£250,000), the Wolfson Foundation (£200,000), and the Reo Stakis Charitable Foundation (£100,000).

Other supporters include the William Syson Foundation, the Kuenssberg Charitable Foundation, the Robert Barr Charitable Trust, and the Turtleton Charitable Trust, as well as donations from anonymous donors.

Renfrewshire Council is providing more than half the total project funding, with seven-figure contributions already secured from National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Scottish Government (directly and through the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund), and Historic Environment Scotland.

The fundraising campaign is now switching focus towards donations from individuals and corporate organisations.

The reopened museum, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, will be operated by OneRen, a local charitable trust providing culture, leisure and sporting opportunities.

Work will restore the A-listed museum buildings – including the Coats Observatory, the oldest public observatory in Scotland – while adding a new wing, accessible entrance and outdoor, terraced garden. The physical space will also provide a community hub.

The project will double the number of items on display from Paisley’s collections and showcase the town’s industrial heritage in weaving and textile design.

The chair of the trustees of PMR is James Lang, director of the Renfrewshire-based Scottish Leather Group. He said, “We are delighted to announce the campaign has reached the milestone of £1m secured so far – and wish to thank every one of the generous donors who made this possible. The museum was founded by the industrialists who helped make the town’s name, so those who have donated to the current campaign are ensuring the rich architectural, social and cultural legacy of this special facility is reimagined for future generations.”

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of the OneRen board, added, “The museum is the flagship project of the council’s wider investment in Paisley town centre’s cultural venues, which also includes a transformation of its A-listed Town Hall, a new home for library services at the heart of its High St, and the UK’s first publicly-accessible High Street museum store, which opened in 2017.”