Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum awarded £1m National Lottery funding

Plans to transform the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum at Stirling Castle have been given a final go-ahead by the National Lottery as it awarded the “modern and exciting” project close to £1 million in funding.

Visit Scotland chairman Lord Thurso congratulates Colonel AK Miller

The award is the most significant boost to date for the Stirling museum’s £4 million Thin Red Line Appeal, which aims to establish the museum as a major addition to the tourism and corporate entertainment landscape of central Scotland.

The plan will improve the museum’s ability to interpret and commemorate for modern visitors the history of one of Scotland’s great Highland regiments.

Traditionally based at Stirling Castle, The Argylls have played a notable role in the history of Scotland and the United Kingdom since the Napoleonic Wars.

Last year the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh learned of the redevelopment project during a visit to Stirling Castle.

Following the Heritage Lottery Fund’s £973,000 award, which followed rigorous scrutiny of the museum’s construction, exhibition and operating plans, museum staff can now begin storing its collection of militaria, art and artefacts in order for building work to start this autumn.

The revamped museum is set to re-open in summer of 2019, and visitor numbers are expected to exceed 250,000 per year when re-opened.

Lucy Casot, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “This award marks a key change for the Argyll & Sutherland Museum .

“It will be transformed from a traditional military museum to one which engages visitors in a modern and exciting way as they learn about life as a soldier over the past 200 years.

“Thanks to players of the National Lottery, current cramped conditions will be replaced with bright, contemporary displays. Better access will allow many more people to visit ensuring a brighter future for The Argyll and Sutherland Museum and its important collections.”

News that the museum project had received final National Lottery backing was hailed by the museum’s partners who have responsibility for Stirling Castle, Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

Thomas Knowles, Head of Grants at HES, said: “We’re very pleased to be working in partnership with The Argylls Museum on their redevelopment project, and are delighted to welcome this funding from HLF.

“The links between Stirling Castle and The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders reach back through the centuries, and this exciting project will help tell this story and offer a new experience for visitors to the Castle.”

The plans also received praise from VisitScotland. The agency already lists Stirling Castle as one of the most-visited sites in Scotland, with over 560,000 visitors a year.

Lord Thurso, VisitScotland Chairman, said: “It is exciting to see The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum at Stirling Castle receive this investment. The museum plays an important part in telling the military and the country’s story to visitors from all over the world.

“Scotland’s history and culture is one of the top reasons for visiting Scotland and Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment to ensure that current provision meets future demand. Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy, causing a ripple effect which touches every industry and community, creating employment and economic growth.”

Colonel A K Miller, project director of the £4 million museum programme, said: “After six years of developing our plans and much hard work by a small team, we are now in a position to deliver something very special in Stirling Castle.

“We are indebted to National Lottery players for their support, and I would like to acknowledge the roles played by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland in helping us reach this key milestone.”


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