ANGUSalive has received over £55K from Museums Galleries Scotland’s Covid-19 Museum Development Fund to help reimagine Montrose Museum and Art Gallery.
The Montrose Museum Reimagined project will aim to place the museum at the heart of the community and explore the untapped potential of its collections. The funding, which will cover the first phase of the exciting redevelopment project, will involve planning, collections research and public consultation over 12 months.
The project will help to provide a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity to transform how the museum uses its collections to bring communities together, promote health and wellbeing, and explore issues of place and identity. It will help in re-visualising the use of the potential space, inside and out, to respond to community needs in the post Covid-19 world.
Rachel Jackson, Museums Exhibition Lead at ANGUSalive said: “We are delighted and extremely grateful to receive this funding and support from Museums Galleries Scotland to help us reimagine Montrose Museum. This phase is just the first step in the journey to transform the museum, and we need to understand the changes we can make to the physical building as well as explore in more detail our wonderful collections to find ways to better serve and engage with our local community and visitors. The project will also help tackle the physical, sensory and participatory barriers in accessing the museum in its current condition and look to maximise opportunities for community collaboration and providing creative programmes to improve the health and wellbeing of visitors. We need to help ensure all our museums are fit for the 21st Century where everyone can feel there is something for them, both in the near future and in years to come. I’m confident this project will help us in achieving that.”
The COVID-19 Museum Development Fund from Museums Galleries Scotland supports museums to build resilience and address challenges brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland added: “Through the COVID-19 Museum Development Fund we are delighted to support ANGUSalive to transform Montrose Museum into a hub for the region through their forward thinking and ambitious plans for its future. The local community and their heritage will be at the centre of the museum with an emphasis on engagement, collaboration and knowledge sharing at each stage of the Montrose Museum Reimagined project. As the museum team and community embark on this exciting journey of reflection and redesign, we wish them every success.”
The charity has already received a number of proposals from specialists experienced in delivering similar projects and has awarded Edinburgh-based Studioarc to help deliver the first phase. The funding will also enable ANGUSalive to recruit two Project Collection Technicians to support with researching, digitising and conserving artefacts in the museum. Following the initial year-long project, ANGUSalive hopes to then be able to progress to the next stage of the project and attract funding to make the vision a realisation.
Lyndsey Bowditch, director of Studioarc said: “We’re excited to work with ANGUSalive and help set out the framework for the future development of its museums and galleries. We will combine innovative design ideas with a strong focus on widening access, enhancing sustainability and encouraging meaningful participation and engagement across the organisation’s cultural resources. We are excited by the potential to bring to life the remarkable stories of the people, places and objects within the collections, creating an engaging narrative for residents and visitors to Angus.”
Montrose Museum was built in 1842 with funds raised by the Montrose Natural History and Antiquarian Society. The neo-classical building was designed to look like a temple of learning and was one of the first purpose-built museums in Scotland. The Victorian collections are currently displayed in three large galleries themed on local history, natural history, art and maritime history displays, which were last redesigned over 20 years ago. Montrose Museum Reimagined will explore the possibilities for new layouts which create more physical, sensory and participatory access for wider audiences from across the community.
ANGUSalive will be sharing more about the project and confirming how the local community can get involved in reimagining the design to create opportunities and ideas for meaningful interaction with its collections. Everyone is encouraged to participate in development of the future vision for their Montrose Museum.
ANGUSalive (SC046133) is the culture, sport and leisure trust for the county of Angus and has been operating since December 2015.