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Exciting plans are currently underway to create an extension to MUSA, the Museum of the University of St Andrews, which will house two new temporary exhibition galleries.  As part of the project, an environmental control system for the entire museum will be incorporated, to provide optimal display conditions, and a studio / workroom for teaching and student use.

This will greatly enhance what MUSA offers by hosting an exciting programme of high quality exhibitions and the development will also support teaching and public engagement with University research. The planned extension is to the east of the MUSA building, and a new glass atrium will provide space for groups to gather and assist in controlling environmental conditions within the galleries.

Crucially, this development will relocate the majority of the museum service to one established and acclaimed site, which is well known to our visitors. Currently, only a fraction of the items in the collections can be displayed in the four ‘permanent’ galleries at MUSA: innovative, high-quality temporary exhibitions will diversify what is offered and attract new and repeat visitors, including an increased range of university users such as researchers and seminar groups.  It will also allow for more of the stored collections to be displayed.

 

Plans

The plans for the extension have been drawn up by the original architect of the MUSA building, ensuring continuity in design and quality. Planning permission was obtained in August 2017.   A programme of fundraising is currently underway, in conjunction with the University’s Development Office.

Ground FloorPlan of extended ground floor with new gallery space highlighted in green and orientations and environmental buffer space in turquoise

 

Gallery Spaces

The primary aim is to create two exciting new temporary exhibition spaces.  A large gallery will offer a diverse programme of around 3 high quality exhibitions per year, from across the spectrum of the University’s collections, including Special Collections, enhanced by significant loans including, it is planned, from bodies such as National Museums Scotland, The V&A and the British Museum.

A smaller, more flexible gallery, the Academic and Community Engagement (ACE) Gallery will focus on public engagement with academic research, displays to support research conferences, and community programming, with around 4 exhibitions per year in collaboration with academic colleagues and local community groups.

Together, the galleries will offer a space where diverse user-groups, from University members engaged in teaching and research to schools, the local community, tourists and the general public can come together to explore and communicate a variety of stimulating and thought-provoking themes.  The temporary exhibitions will be accompanied by inspiring and innovative schools and public engagement programmes.

 

Increased environmental controls and new work space

A precision museum-standard environmental control system will be incorporated across the entire museum (currently, seasonal variations cause adverse environmental conditions which prevent the display of certain types of material, particularly archival material).

A new studio / workroom on the first floor of the existing building will provide space for on-site practical work e.g. exhibition preparation, and for increased collections and material culture-based seminars. It may also serve as a base for artist-in-residence initiatives. A small exhibition change-over store will provide capacity for object crates and exhibition furniture.

Upper FloorPlan of upper level with Artist Studio and Office Space

 

Finally, the addition of a glass vestibule / draught lobby to the front of the building will enhance the new environmental system and provide space for school and other groups to gather. The extension will be designed to ensure it is sympathetic to the original building and historic surroundings.

MUSA AerialArchitect’s impression of the new extended MUSA building

The Museum will close from 1st of July 2018 for a period of about 18 months.  We are very much looking forward to this new, exciting development at MUSA and please do keep in touch to discover how plans are progressing.  Whilst the extension project is ongoing we at MUSA are planning to be as busy as ever by coming out to see you wherever you are!  Keep your eye on our website for further details of our continuing programme of events for later in the year at venues in and around St Andrews!

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