Glasgow & West Scotland

'Shop-front' museum to help Paisley regeneration

Museum decant team members Stella Hook, Archie Henderson, Cllr Jim Harte and Joel Fagan Image copyright Renfrewshire Council
Image caption Museum decant team members Stella Hook, Archie Henderson, Cllr Jim Harte and Joel Fagan

A new "shop-front" museum is to open to encourage people back to Paisley High Street.

The £2.7m facility will occupy the basement of a previously-empty unit and will house tens of thousands of items not on display in the main museum.

Renfrewshire Council is taking forward the work in connection with Paisley's bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021.

Councillor Jim Harte said it was necessary to find new ways to increase footfall that would benefit traders.

He said: "Other places in Scotland have publicly-accessible museum stores, but this is the first time such a facility has been built on a high street, and will bring a previously-empty unit back into use.

"High streets everywhere - including Paisley's - have suffered in recent years from changes in the way people shop.

"But we can't turn the clock back - we need to be creative in finding new ways to repopulate units, and bring in new footfall which existing traders can benefit from."

It is hoped the new museum at 7 High Street will bring 125,000 visitors a year to the town centre.

Currently, a team is preparing and packing the items at a storage facility.

The collection includes:

  • a ceremonial 5,000-year-old hand axe dating back to the Neolithic era;
  • a fragment of a 10th-century medieval cross found at Inchinnan;
  • a copper mould for a replica frieze from the Parthenon, created by 19th century Paisley sculptor John Henning;
  • a Paisley tram driver's badge from the 1960s;
  • an Egyptian Shabti - a small sculpture buried with a person - dating back to the 26-27th dynasty.

The museum store is intended to complement plans for a £49m revamp of the main Paisley Museum to turn it into an international-class destination based around the town's heritage story.

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