Paisley’s landmark collection of the shawls which made the town’s name famous around the world is set to be brought into the digital age.
Renfrewshire Council has been awarded almost £40,000 funding towards a project to digitise the Paisley shawl collection held at Paisley Museum.
It will see the photography and digitisation of approximately 1,200 Paisley pattern shawls and 1,700 pages of pattern books to create a digital version of the collection, which visitors can explore via iPads.
The funding has come from Museums Galleries Scotland’s Recognition Fund as part of a £641k investment just announced for twenty projects around the country.
Digitisation of the shawl collection – deemed to be of national significance to Scotland – is set to begin in February, with the new digital resource to be launched in November 2016.
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The project is one of the first visible outcomes from Renfrewshire Council’s ambitious proposals to transform the area’s future by using Paisley’s internationally-significant heritage and cultural assets to drive a wide-ranging programme of regeneration over the next decade.
The flagship projects for that include a proposed multi-million pound refurbishment of Paisley Museum to turn it into a National Museum of Textile and Costume, currently at the feasibility stage, as well as a bid for UK City of Culture in 2021.
Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding, which will enable us to showcase more shawls and patterns than ever before – giving visitors increased access to this world-famous display of textiles.
“The popularity of the Paisley shawls in the 19th century helped turn the town into a global brand and ushered in an era of prosperity – the results of which are still visible around us now.
“We have ambitious plans to use everything Paisley has to offer in terms of our proud weaving history plus our architecture, culture and events, to retell the town’s story to the world once again.
“This project to make our 19th century legacy available to visitors using 21st century technology is a great place to start.”
This funding will help museums up and down the country deliver results across education, social and health and wellbeing agendas through innovative and cost-effective programmes that connect museum collections with their communities and contribute to tourism and economic development.
MGS Chair Douglas Connell said: “We are pleased to start 2015 with a substantial funding round to support ambitious museum projects which increase the accessibility of museum collections, including Renfrewshire Council’s Paisley Shawl Collection Digitisation Project.
“The Scottish Government has demonstrated its continued support for the sector through funding which has enabled us to invest almost £1.5m over the last 12 months, with demand for financial assistance to deliver high-quality museum projects now well exceeding the funds available.”