New images have been released that offer a sneak peek behind the ongoing transformation of Paisley Museum.

The site, which is due to open next year, is undergoing £45 million worth of refurbishment work to create a new, world-class museum space.

While celebrating Renfrewshire's significant industrial past and the town's importance, the refurbished museum's gallery spaces will increase by more than a quarter, with ambitious architectural and engineering interventions to welcome visitors to stunning indoor and outdoor spaces.

The Gazette: Restored historic fabric and finishes will be showcased at Paisley MuseumRestored historic fabric and finishes will be showcased at Paisley Museum (Image: Renfrewshire Council)

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.

The project is being further funded by a charitable fundraising campaign that has been supported by a number of trusts and foundations and corporate donors.

Kirsty Devine, OneRen's project director for Paisley Museum Re-imagined, outlined the scale, ambition and people-centred approach to the work. 

The Gazette: Hundreds of objects will be on displayHundreds of objects will be on display (Image: Sourced)

She 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.

"We've held conversations with around 70 local organisations and community groups who have brought fresh and dynamic insights into the role of the museum and our audiences.

"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. That, for me, is incredibly exciting."

The Gazette: Paisley Museum has been working closely with some of the town’s refugees to create a new display for its glass collectionPaisley Museum has been working closely with some of the town’s refugees to create a new display for its glass collection (Image: OneRen)

Kirsty has led a team of expert content producers and collections specialists who have taken a radical and dynamic approach to Renfrewshire's core collections. 

Working from the town's Secret Collection, the team have worked on over 100 story displays, featuring 1,290 objects, more than double 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 Gazette: An artist's impression of what the exterior of the new museum will look likeAn artist's impression of what the exterior of the new museum will look like (Image: Renfrewshire Council)

The Thomas Coats Observatory – the oldest public observatory in Scotland – will be open and accessible to the public,

Its rich and vibrant history as both civic timekeeper and a truly remarkable, 150-year-old weather station, will be available to all.

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

Working together on 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. 

The Gazette: The refurbished museum is set to reopen next yearThe refurbished museum is set to reopen next year (Image: OneRen)

Katy Wilson-Scott, of 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."

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

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.