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Over £600,000 invested in 15 museums across Scotland

MGS has announced 15 projects set to receive a share of £600k from the Museum Development Fund.

Museums Galleries Scotland announces Museum Development Fund Awards

Museums across Scotland, from Gairloch to Glasgow, are set to benefit from over £600,000 of funding from Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS).

The national development body has announced 15 projects which have been awarded funding. Several of the awards will fund new posts within museums, in roles focusing on curatorship, learning, and engagement. Other projects will improve the way collections are stored and cared for, ensuring they will be preserved for the benefit of future generations.

An award of £60,000 to Dumfries and Galloway Council will enable them to display the Kirkcudbright Artists Collection in a permanent exhibition space in the new Kirkcudbright Art Gallery. The Collection has Nationally Significant status, and includes over 300 works of fine art, and some 80 works of decorative art and craftwork, connected with the development of the town as an artists’ centre. Highlights of the collection, much of which is currently in storage, include paintings by Edward Atkinson Hornel, Charles Oppenheimer and Samuel Peploe.

Andy Ferguson, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council Communities Directorate, said:

“The Kirkcudbright Artists Collection sits at the core of our new Gallery opening in Kirkcudbright in the spring of 2018, and this grant will aid the essential work in getting this important collection out on public display. Dumfries and Galloway Council is very proud of its heritage and historic collections and we are delighted that the recognition fund has shown its support so generously.”

Joanne Orr, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland, said:

“MGS is pleased to be supporting projects that will contribute to the long-term sustainability and resilience of these museums. The awardees have demonstrated a real commitment to enterprise, skills development, and improving their offering and profile for future 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.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop, said:

“I am pleased to see that Museums Galleries Scotland is making further interventions to support our many museums and galleries across Scotland, increasing access to our wonderful collections countrywide. I am proud that the Scottish Government is playing a role in improving Scotland’s cultural scene, supporting these projects through the allocation of £600,000 of funding to MGS.

“In particular, I welcome the award to Kirkcudbright, which will support the tourism ambitions for the South of Scotland and hugely benefit Dumfries and Galloway’s cultural scene, attracting visitors from all across the country and strongly boosting South of Scotland’s economy.


Full list of awardees by geographical area:

Argyll and Bute

Kilmartin Museum Company Ltd. - £40,000

Telling the Kilmartin Glen Story: Kilmartin Museum Exhibition Design Scheme

This project forms a central aspect of wider redevelopment work at the Kilmartin Museum. The grant from MGS will fund the hiring of interpretation consultants and planners, who will work with Kilmartin staff, volunteers, and communities to develop an up-to-date, engaging plan to explore the collection.

MacDougall of Dunollie Preservation Trust - £40,000

The Kettle Garden Dining

MGS funding will allow the popular Kettle Garden Cafe at Dunollie Castle to build a permanent covered outdoor dining area for café visitors. They are currently using temporary  gazebos, which aren’t suited to the weather conditions of the west highlands, and detract from the surrounding buildings.


Scottish Maritime Museum Trust (Dumbarton) - £39,000

Redesigning Denny: Engage, Experiment, Engineer

This Scottish Maritime Museum will refurbish a space within their Dumbarton location to create a flexible gallery. This will improve the experience of visitors through new displays and interactive exhibits, as well as increasing the museum's capacity to deliver a learning programme around STEM subjects. Getting involved in the STEM initiate will ensure the museum’s collections remain relevant and will contribute to the Scottish Government’s learning agenda.

Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway Council - £60,000

Kirkcudbright Artists' Collection Interpretation and Display

Dumfries and Galloway Council have sought funding to fit out a permanent art exhibition space on the ground floor of the new Kirkcudbright art gallery which will house the Nationally Significant 'Kircudbright Artists Collection'. This will be a significant contribution to the tourism offer of Kircudbright as an artist's town.


University of Dundee - £5,877

Environmental Monitoring System

MGS has funded the University to install a new web-based environmental monitoring system in their stores and exhibition spaces. This will improve their collections management standards and put them in a better position to secure loans from other collections.

Edinburgh and the Lothians

Almond Valley Heritage Trust - £50,000

Revealing the Plot: new ways of sharing our collection on-line

Almond Valley Heritage Trust have secured funds from MGS to undertake a complete redevelopment of their website,, which is no longer fit for purpose. The museum has invested years of work into developing the content on this site, which is valued by researchers as a source of information on Scotland's shale oil industry.


University of St Andrews

Display cases and AV equipment for new temporary exhibition galleries at MUSA - £60,000

Environmental Control System for MUSA - £60,000

MGS is funding two University of St Andrews projects, both of which form part of a larger initiative to extend MUSA and create new galleries, storage space, and a teaching area. The funding will pay for flexible display cases and audio-visual equipment to enable an ambitious programme of temporary exhibitions, as well as a new environmental control system to better look after both MUSA’s own collections and future loans.


Glasgow Life, Glasgow Museums - £41,250          

Entry-level Assistant Curatorship Scheme

This Glasgow Life project will pilot the re-introduction of 3 years of assistant curator posts within the wider Glasgow Museums staff. The project will create paid opportunities for early-career museums professionals. If successful, the 3 year pilot will help to justify the longer term continuation of these posts.

National Trust for Scotland - £40,000

Introduction of a gallery space at Pollok House

The National Trust for Scotland will be using £40,000 of MGS funding to convert rooms in Pollok House into new display spaces where they can hold temporary exhibitions of their Spanish art collections and contemporary art. It is hoped that exhibitions of contemporary art will help to attract new audiences to the stately home on the outskirts of Glasgow.

Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow - £29,230

Visualising medical heritage: new approaches to digitisation and interpretation of medical instrument collections

The Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow will  use their MGS funding to hire a project officer to make their collections more engaging and accessible for people without a medical background. This will be achieved through 3D scanning, virtual reality modelling and animations.

University of Glasgow - £60,000

Conserving and interpreting William Hunter's plaster casts of the Gravid Uterus for new audiences

This MGS funded project will conserve and research 10 eighteenth-century plaster casts of a dissected pregnant uterus, which were made for the Hunterian's founder William Hunter but are currently in a poor state of conservation. The project will allow them to be put on public display for the first time and they will form the centre of a major international exhibition at The Hunterian in 2018, and loaned to the Yale Centre for British Art in 2019. They will also be able to form a part of the new MSc in Museum Education due to launch in September 2017.


Gairloch Heritage Museum Trust - £40,000          

Our land, our people, our story: The redevelopment and relocation of Gairloch Heritage Museum

Gairloch Heritage Museum is currently undertaking an ambitious HLF funded project to relocate the whole museum to a new home. Their MGS grant will recruit a Learning and Interpretation Officer to manage learning activities and the development of interpretation that is focussed on visitors and the local community. At the moment, the museum has just one paid full time Curator so an extra member of staff will have a big impact.


Biggar Museum Trust - £28,663

Improving sustainability: Energy saving and storage

Thanks to MGS funding, the newly re-opened Biggar Museum will be able to install voltaic solar panels on the roof of the building, generating renewable electricity for the building. They will also fit out two outbuildings as climate-controlled collections storage. The project will save the museum money, reduce their carbon footprint, and protect their collections for the future


Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Trust - £40,000

The Collection's Future Storage and Conservation

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum, located in Stirling Castle, is currently storing its collection ad hoc throughout a 400 year old building. This MGS grant will allow them to create new storage area, with environmental controls and proper storage facilities to make sure objects can be preserved well into the future.


Published 12 July 2017