Renfrewshire’s residents are having their say in shaping the future of Paisley Museum.

A series of “creative conversations” will be held to develop ways in which the 150-year-old venue and its team will best serve the region’s communities following its £42m transformation.

They will involve representatives from many of the near 70 local organisations which took part in earlier engagement events with service operator Renfrewshire Leisure to examine the issues they face in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kirsty Devine, Project Director of Paisley Museum Re-Imagined, said: “The transformed museum will not just be about celebrating our globally-important past, but being inspired by it to forge a stronger future.

“That’s a future that will undoubtedly be framed by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it has had on local lives.

“We want to make sure that our work meets the community’s priorities – addressing the challenges we face and creating new opportunities for our residents while supporting the region’s health, social, cultural and economic recovery. To create a programme which achieves that, we want to best understand the needs of our communities.”

Six priorities for the revitalised museum’s work emerged from the previous round of listening sessions carried out by operator Renfrewshire Leisure with organisations and other local stakeholders. They are:

  • Community health and wellbeing
  • Tackling social isolation
  • Employability and skills
  • Local history and heritage
  • Confidence / belonging / feeling of ownership
  • Play, literacy and creativity

The creative conversations to be carried out this summer will explore these themes in more detail, looking at how partnership working can develop events for museum audiences.

Kirsty Devine added: “The engagement we have had has already led to some of those we have spoken launching activities which are benefitting people now, and which will develop as the museum’s transformation continues.

“It’s rooted deeply in the fabric of the museum to have the community’s involvement. In the late 19th century the founding committee recognised the importance of community involvement, commenting that the museum ‘only needed to be put in the possession of the community to be appreciated and that the advantages would be of service to all’. That’s an ethos we are embracing as we look to the future.”

As well as its work with community organisations, the museum team is also working with colleagues in Renfrewshire Leisure’s libraries, sports and leisure teams, as well as across Renfrewshire Council and The Great Place Scheme.

Dates for the creative conversations will be confirmed in the coming weeks. For more details, go to https://reimagined.paisleymuseum.org.