Steeped in archaeology

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Opened in 1997, Kilmartin Museum’s mission is to inspire and educate people by interpreting, explaining and conserving the internationally important archaeological landscape, artefacts and natural heritage of Kilmartin Glen. One of Scotland's most important archaeological landscapes, the Glen contains significant prehistoric and early historic sites and monuments.

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The Museum curates over 40,000 artefacts from all over Argyll, enabling people to enjoy and understand them in the context of the landscape in which they were found.  Some 11,000 make up the Prehistoric Collection and were ‘Recognised’ by Museums Galleries Scotland as nationally significant in 2019.  The Recognised Collection includes internationally important Bronze Age Pottery, due to appear in a British Museum temporary exhibition in the near future.

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In 2014 Kilmartin Museum embarked on an ambitious £7m Redevelopment Project, which aims to:

  • Create an inspiring place in which to celebrate and tell the internationally important story of Kilmartin Glen’s cultural and natural heritage, ensuring its continued protection.
  • Showcase the internationally important archaeology collections, and the story of Kilmartin Glen, by displaying more local artefacts, particularly the ‘star’ objects and continuing the loans of objects from other collections.
  • Facilitate the display of temporary exhibitions from national collections. No comparable facility exists in the whole of the region at present, so this will enable local people to have access to the same cultural opportunities as people elsewhere in Britain.
  • Facilitate creative activities for artists and local people.

Thanks to the support of individuals, statutory bodies and trusts and foundations, as well as NatureScot which manages the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund which provided access to European Regional Development Funds, construction of the Redevelopment is now underway, having started in April 2021.

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Inevitably a project of this size will lead to increased visitor numbers so the project will look to carefully absorb and manage those new visitors. What lies in store is an impressive renovation of Kilmartin Museum into a modern visitor attraction, with an enhanced visitor experience supported by a strong digital presence. 

The team at Kilmartin Musuem are thrilled to have been able to steer a way through the pandemic and to have made a start on site – it’s giving them a much-needed something to look forward to with things set to re-open in Spring 2023.

Notes:

The Natural & Cultural Heritage Fund is part of the Scottish Government’s current European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme, which runs through to 2023.  This is one of two ERDF Strategic Interventions led by NatureScot – the other is the Green Infrastructure Fund.

You can follow the European Structural Funds blog for ESF activities, news and updates. For twitter updates go to @scotgovESIF or use the hashtags #ERDF and #europeanstructuralfunds