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£3.2M grant for Kilmartin Museum redevelopment


A grant from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will transform Kilmartin Museum in Mid Argyll into a landmark venue celebrating the global significance of Kilmartin Glen.

As well as becoming a significant cultural and natural tourism centre, completion of the project will enable the museum to be able to care for its collection of artefacts, some of which are of international significance. 

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Providing all the funding is in place, construction work will begin on the project in January 2019, with the aim of works being complete by the summer of 2020. Estimated site visitors will increase to 44,000 people that year, whilst the redeveloped museum is expected to have an economic impact on Argyll as a whole of £5.8 million in its first year.

A major extension designed by architects Reiach and Hall will join together the two existing buildings creating a seamless museum facility and providing a much larger exhibition space, so that more artefacts can be displayed.

Kilmartin Glen

Since Prehistoric times, Kilmartin Glen been a special to many generations. Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples built tombs to house their dead, some carved enigmatic designs on bedrock now known as cup and ring marks, others erected stone circles and standing stones, the purpose of which inspires speculation today.  

Later peoples, named Scotti, chose to site the capital of this medieval sea kingdom at Dunadd, in the heart of the Glen. The kingdom they created spanned whole regions of what is now Scotland and Ireland and was the dominant power for more than 5 centuries.

In all, over 800 monuments and sites have been found within a 6 mile radius of Kilmartin Glen. These testify to the skill, ingenuity and firmly held beliefs of the thousands of generations who called Kilmartin Glen home. 

'Massive improvements'

Commenting on the award, Dr Sharon Webb said 'We’re absolutely delighted after years of dedicated work on the part of the Museum staff and volunteer Trustees, that thanks to National Lottery players, we’ve received this support. The award means we’ve nearly reached our fundraising target, bringing the implementation of the project that much closer. Applications have been lodged for the remainder, but there is still a £100,000 funding gap, which we will be working on closing in the coming months. 

'The project as a whole will enable us to properly care for the artefacts in our collections, and tell their stories interwoven with the sites and monuments in which they were found, as well as provide massive improvements to the visitor experience and the Museum’s education service. The local economy will also benefit. The award also represents well deserved and long overdue UK level recognition of Kilmartin Museum, our collections and of Mid Argyll’s unique cultural and natural heritage.'

Kilmartin Museum, Lochgilphead PA31 8RQ; tel: 01546 510278; website.

(photographs copyright Aaron Watson)

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