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Helen Smout

I hope visitors take away a deeper understanding of this area’s importance in Scotland’s story


Opening over Easter weekend in March 2024 after a £26.5 million redevelopment project, the new Perth Museum will tell the story of Perth – Scotland’s first capital.

The museum – a transformation of Perth’s former city hall by Netherlands-based architects Mecanoo – will explore Perth’s role in ancient and modern Scotland via exhibits including Bonnie Prince Charlie’s sword, a rare Jacobite wine glass and the 3,000-year-old Carpow Logboat.

The Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone, will be the centrepiece of the new museum. The Stone of Destiny is an ancient symbol of Scotland, used in the inauguration of Scottish monarchs and kings and queens of the UK, and was recently used at the coronation of Kings Charles III at London’s Westminster Abbey. It is returning to Perthshire for the first time in more than 700 years, and will be free for the public to view.

Perth Museum has been developed through a partnership between Perth and Kinross Council and Culture Perth and Kinross and is supported by £10 million from the UK Government as part of the Tay Cities Region Deal – a £700 million regional investment programme jointly funded by the UK and Scottish governments and regional partners.

Here we speak to Culture Perth & Kinross CEO Helen Smout about preparing for the opening of this unique museum.

What is the aim of Perth Museum?
Perth Museum will shine a light on the Recognised Collections of National Significance held in Perth – one of the oldest public collections in the UK. The museum explores Perthshire’s pivotal role within Scotland, the UK and internationally through unique objects encompassing archaeology, natural history, social history and world cultures. It will feature interactive activities, immersive digital experiences, a café, and a gift shop.

The museum is a major investment for the local community, revitalising Perth’s historic city centre, and will act a catalyst to drive economic impact through tourism.

Can you talk us through a couple of highlights of the museum?
At the heart of the museum is the Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone, which continues to play an important constitutional role as demonstrated in the recent Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

The rich history of this object is explored in an immersive experience which will take the visitor from that recent coronation back to its earliest role at the inauguration of Scottish kings. We’ve used the latest technologies and worked with a range of partners to bring to life the very human stories at the heart of our history.

The museum will also be home to a number of significant and unique objects such as the Carpow Log Boat. One of the most exciting archaeological discoveries in the area, the 9m-long boat lay buried in the banks of the River Tay, near Abernethy, for 3,000 years until it was discovered 22 years ago. It has undergone a year of specialist conservation work at the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh in preparation for display.

Perthshire sits at the heart of the Jacobite story so I’m thrilled that Bonnie Prince Charlie’s sword will go on public display for the very first time. This will be the first time the sword has returned to Scotland since it was made in Perth in 1739.

What does the opening of this museum mean for Perth and for Scotland?
The roots of Perth Museum’s collection are more than 200 years old and this is the first opportunity in all that time to tell the story of Perth and Perthshire spanning 10,000 years of history and to show their deep significance to Scotland’s story.

With our internationally significant museum collection we aim to attract visitors from around the world and confirm Scotland’s place as one of the most exciting, dynamic and culturally rich places to visit.

What have been the biggest challenges so far with this project?
Continuing to develop such a large and complex project during COVID-19 lockdowns was probably the most difficult aspect of the project. In many respects, the move to online for project meetings meant these could happen more efficiently, but working in isolation between these meetings was really hard for everyone and not a time we’d want to revisit.

What are you proudest of? And what are you most excited about?
I’m incredibly proud of our team who have all worked with such energy and passion to deliver this project and to make the visitor experience something really special. I’m very excited to see the reactions of the visitors coming through our doors. To see the museum through their eyes will be a great privilege.

What do you hope visitors will take away from a visit to Perth Museum?
I really hope that our visitors take away a deeper understanding of this area’s importance in Scotland’s story and how the brilliant collections we have here in Perth can bring that story to life in a new way.

Perth Museum Credit: Image: Mencanoo
Architects Mecanoo have transformed the historic Edwardian building Credit: Image: Mecanoo
An 18th century Jacobite glass is among the artefacts on display at the museum Credit: Photo: Julie Howden
Credit: Photo: Benedict Johnson
Internationally significant artefacts include Bonnie Prince Charlie’s sword Credit: Photo: Benedict Johnson
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People
Helen Smout

I hope visitors take away a deeper understanding of this area’s importance in Scotland’s story


Opening over Easter weekend in March 2024 after a £26.5 million redevelopment project, the new Perth Museum will tell the story of Perth – Scotland’s first capital.

The museum – a transformation of Perth’s former city hall by Netherlands-based architects Mecanoo – will explore Perth’s role in ancient and modern Scotland via exhibits including Bonnie Prince Charlie’s sword, a rare Jacobite wine glass and the 3,000-year-old Carpow Logboat.

The Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone, will be the centrepiece of the new museum. The Stone of Destiny is an ancient symbol of Scotland, used in the inauguration of Scottish monarchs and kings and queens of the UK, and was recently used at the coronation of Kings Charles III at London’s Westminster Abbey. It is returning to Perthshire for the first time in more than 700 years, and will be free for the public to view.

Perth Museum has been developed through a partnership between Perth and Kinross Council and Culture Perth and Kinross and is supported by £10 million from the UK Government as part of the Tay Cities Region Deal – a £700 million regional investment programme jointly funded by the UK and Scottish governments and regional partners.

Here we speak to Culture Perth & Kinross CEO Helen Smout about preparing for the opening of this unique museum.

What is the aim of Perth Museum?
Perth Museum will shine a light on the Recognised Collections of National Significance held in Perth – one of the oldest public collections in the UK. The museum explores Perthshire’s pivotal role within Scotland, the UK and internationally through unique objects encompassing archaeology, natural history, social history and world cultures. It will feature interactive activities, immersive digital experiences, a café, and a gift shop.

The museum is a major investment for the local community, revitalising Perth’s historic city centre, and will act a catalyst to drive economic impact through tourism.

Can you talk us through a couple of highlights of the museum?
At the heart of the museum is the Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone, which continues to play an important constitutional role as demonstrated in the recent Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

The rich history of this object is explored in an immersive experience which will take the visitor from that recent coronation back to its earliest role at the inauguration of Scottish kings. We’ve used the latest technologies and worked with a range of partners to bring to life the very human stories at the heart of our history.

The museum will also be home to a number of significant and unique objects such as the Carpow Log Boat. One of the most exciting archaeological discoveries in the area, the 9m-long boat lay buried in the banks of the River Tay, near Abernethy, for 3,000 years until it was discovered 22 years ago. It has undergone a year of specialist conservation work at the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh in preparation for display.

Perthshire sits at the heart of the Jacobite story so I’m thrilled that Bonnie Prince Charlie’s sword will go on public display for the very first time. This will be the first time the sword has returned to Scotland since it was made in Perth in 1739.

What does the opening of this museum mean for Perth and for Scotland?
The roots of Perth Museum’s collection are more than 200 years old and this is the first opportunity in all that time to tell the story of Perth and Perthshire spanning 10,000 years of history and to show their deep significance to Scotland’s story.

With our internationally significant museum collection we aim to attract visitors from around the world and confirm Scotland’s place as one of the most exciting, dynamic and culturally rich places to visit.

What have been the biggest challenges so far with this project?
Continuing to develop such a large and complex project during COVID-19 lockdowns was probably the most difficult aspect of the project. In many respects, the move to online for project meetings meant these could happen more efficiently, but working in isolation between these meetings was really hard for everyone and not a time we’d want to revisit.

What are you proudest of? And what are you most excited about?
I’m incredibly proud of our team who have all worked with such energy and passion to deliver this project and to make the visitor experience something really special. I’m very excited to see the reactions of the visitors coming through our doors. To see the museum through their eyes will be a great privilege.

What do you hope visitors will take away from a visit to Perth Museum?
I really hope that our visitors take away a deeper understanding of this area’s importance in Scotland’s story and how the brilliant collections we have here in Perth can bring that story to life in a new way.

Perth Museum Credit: Image: Mencanoo
Architects Mecanoo have transformed the historic Edwardian building Credit: Image: Mecanoo
An 18th century Jacobite glass is among the artefacts on display at the museum Credit: Photo: Julie Howden
Credit: Photo: Benedict Johnson
Internationally significant artefacts include Bonnie Prince Charlie’s sword Credit: Photo: Benedict Johnson
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The National Attractions Marketing Conference will see speakers representing some of the UK’s top visitor attractions and best-in-class marketing agencies gather on 6 June at Drayton Manor Theme Park & Resort in Staffordshire. [more...]
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

06-06 Jun 2024

National Attractions Marketing Conference

Drayton Manor Theme Park & Resort, Tamworth, United Kingdom
06-07 Jun 2024

World Sauna Forum 2024

Sataman Viilu , Jyväskylä, Finland
+ More diary  
 


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