IT is being billed as Scotland's biggest cultural heritage project - the £45 million refurbishment of Paisley Museum will create a "radical" world-class museum space to preserve and celebrate the town's history and international impact.

The scale of the project is today revealed with its main funders, Renfrewshire Council, detailing for the first time the scope and ambition in its bid to create a world-class museum space.

Kirsty Devine, OneRen’s Project Director for Paisley Museum Re-imagined, stressed the importance of working with the local community to develop the project.

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Ms Devine said: "We’re delivering Scotland’s biggest cultural heritage project and our ambition is to create a world-class museum space.

"We can’t do that alone though and we have been working with a wide range of communities - locally and globally - over the past six years to help reimagine and redefine the museum and our collections."

READ MORE: Exclusive first look inside the new Paisley Museum

The project's managers have worked with around 70 local organisations and community groups in developing the plans for the building and its contents.

She added: "We’re building a museum that is engaged with its communities in a way that will continue long after we re-open our doors.

"This represents a real shift in practice for us and it’s one which will build a real sense of ownership and pride as we move forward.

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"That, for me, is incredibly exciting.”

Paisley's industrial past and its global importance in textiles is explored in new gallery spaces that will increase by more than a quarter thanks to architectural and engineering interventions in part designed by architects who have worked on the V&A in London.

Ms Devine has led a team of expert content producers and collections specialists who have taken what she described as "a radical and dynamic approach" to Renfrewshire’s core collections.

Working from the town’s Secret Collection – thought to be the UK’s only story located on a high street – the team have worked on more than 100 story displays, featuring 1290 objects.

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This more than doubles what was on display previously.

With eight new public spaces, the new Paisley Museum will be filled with 60 digital displays and will be home to a new garden gallery, public courtyard, café and picnic areas.

The Thomas Coats Observatory – the oldest public observatory in Scotland – will be open and accessible to the public to learn about its history as both civic timekeeper and 150-year-old weather station.

One of the community groups working with the museum team is Kairos Women+, a community led space for women and non-binary people.

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The group has helped shape a co-production that will share stories on how the women of Paisley fought for radical changes to the lives of working-class families, particularly through the Co-operative Women’s Guild.

Katy Wilson-Scott from Kairos, said: “We really aligned with this idea of a collective group of women doing something together, the group caught hold of that really quickly.

"We were able to shift things and change things, which helped us to find our voice."

The building redesign is by architects AL_A, whose previous work includes the MAAT contemporary museum in Lisbon and the Exhibition Road Quarter at the V&A in London.

Amanda Levete from AL_A, said: “The brief for Paisley Museum is one of the most radical I’ve encountered.

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"Paisley has a proud industrial past and a history of innovation and radical thinking.

"We have embedded this into our design to create an extraordinary place for the community of Paisley.”

Contractors, Kier Scotland, are on-site and progressing the build where the entrance building in red glass will be one of the first design features the public will see.

Paisley Museum is billed as crowning a significant investment by Renfrewshire Council in the town’s regeneration through new and refurbished cultural infrastructure.

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Before the museum re-opens in 2024, Paisley Town Hall will be brought back to public use after a significant refurbishment.

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This will be followed by the opening of a new Learning and Cultural Hub, featuring the Central Library, in the middle of the High Street, and the refurbished Paisley Arts Centre which will welcome back new and emerging talent to audiences.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, culture lead for Renfrewshire Council and Chair of OneRen, which will operate the cultural attractions, said: “Paisley Museum is the jewel in our cultural crown.

"Along with the other cultural attractions being brought back to life, these assets will be something that the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire can feel rightly proud of, providing joy and inspiration for local people and visitors alike."

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The museum refurbishment’s main funder is Renfrewshire Council, with additional funding from the Scottish Government, the National Lottery

Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland. It is being further funded by a charitable fundraising campaign that has been supported by a number of trusts and foundations and corporate donors.