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Kilmartin Museum’s new facilities are starting to take shape as construction continues at a pace.
Staff from the museum were treated to a site tour last week, courtesy of contractors TSL, giving them the opportunity to view the new basement-level, which includes a Learning Space. This will provide classroom facilities for the museum’s renowned education service, as well as a state-of-the-art collections store where the museum’s ever-growing collection of ancient artefacts will be housed.
Dr Sharon Webb MBE, director and curator of Kilmartin Museum, said: ‘So many changes have taken place since I was last here in August when the foundation slabs were cast, and now there are complete rooms!
‘It is simply fantastic to see the new museum taking shape, particularly the space where our artefacts, including the museum’s Nationally Significant Prehistoric Collection, will be safely stored. A museum standard collections store has been needed for so long, and we are so grateful to everyone who has helped this project to finally become a reality.’
Ground floor level has been reached on both sides of the former museum building. Work has now started on foundations for the extension that will wrap around to form a major part of the new museum galleries.
Internally, the old museum building is being strengthened and refurbished to make it fit for purpose for many years to come.
At the heart of Kilmartin Glen since 1997, Kilmartin Museum inspires and educates people by interpreting, explaining and conserving the internationally important archaeological landscape, artefacts and natural heritage of Kilmartin Glen.
The museum’s work and artefact collections outgrew the original building, so to ensure there was space to expand, build on the museum’s successes and continue its work, an ambitious Redevelopment Project was launched.
A major extension, designed by award-winning architects Reiach and Hall are being joined together by the two existing buildings, creating a seamless museum facility. The aim is to significantly develop the museum’s work and create an inspiring place where staff can care for, celebrate, and tell the story of Kilmartin Glen’s unique archaeological and natural heritage.
The Redevelopment provides a much larger exhibition space; a creative space, which can be used to deliver and participate in cultural activities as well as allowing staff to stage temporary exhibitions; an accessible research and learning facility where staff can safely curate all our collections; a fit-for-purpose education space, which will allow the Active Learning and Volunteering Programme to be developed.
Added to this a new path which is a direct link to the monuments will be created so visitors will be able to use the museum as a starting point to begin their exploration of the area’s natural and cultural heritage.
There will also be a remodelled shop, reception and café, and improved car parking amenities.
Kilmartin Museum’s redeveloped exhibitions are due to open in March 2023.
For those interested in seeing the changes, Kilmartin Museum’s website features a construction diary at www.kilmartin.org. This shows the progress of the build and will be regularly updated.
During the construction phase, museum staff are working both from home, and temporary offices in Cairnbaan and can be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org
The building contractor, TSL, reports that the works are on schedule to finish in June 2022.