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Museum redevelopment will enhance exhibitions at St Andrews

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A major redevelopment and extension of the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA) will enable important artworks and collections to go on display in the town, as well as allow more of the University’s own holdings to be seen by the public.

The existing facility, housed on The Scores in St Andrews, has been extremely successful since its opening in 2008 as the centerpiece of the University’s museum service. MUSA has been consistently awarded the highest ranking of five stars under Visit Scotland’s Quality Assurance scheme – the only university museum in Scotland to do so.

However, the success of the museum means it is running at capacity, with the education space fully booked and insufficient space for a regular programme of temporary exhibitions.

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The new £1.6 million extension will provide two new galleries for temporary exhibitions, greatly increasing the University’s ability to display its own collections and to host visiting exhibitions from prestigious galleries, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum. The smaller of the two spaces will allow the Museum Collections Unit to work more closely with local community groups to create exhibitions and for University academics to showcase their cutting edge research to the public.

While the major works are underway, MUSA will close from summer 2018 for around 18 months and digital resources will be launched to enable access to the collections during this period.

Emma Jane Wells, Co-Director of the Museum Collections Unit said: “We are very excited about this development, which will be the largest change that MUSA has undergone since its opening 10 years ago.

“The two new exhibition spaces will allow us to extend and improve the exhibitions on offer, allowing us to display major travelling exhibitions from national and international institutions. It will also enable us to work more closely with community groups and schools as well as with the University’s own academics and students.

“While we are closed, two of the permanent galleries will also be completely re-modelled so that when we re-open in 2019, there will be even more for our visitors to see and enjoy.”

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In addition, the works will add a new studio/workroom for seminar groups to study the museum’s collections and an improved environmental control system to precisely regulate conditions across the new and existing galleries, enabling the display of a greater variety of environmentally sensitive items.

Around 35,000 visitors are attracted to the museum every year, including over 2000 school children who participate in organised events and workshops.

The University holds more than 115,000 items within its museum collections, with the vast majority in storage. MUSA’s extensive database of objects is now available to search online, via the museum website.  For the first time, visitors will be able to search themselves for information about the University’s collections and to learn about the vast range of objects held.


Image captions

Top: redeveloped MUSA from The Scores with Edgecliffe Stone Texture

Middle: MUSA south elevation

Bottom: 3D view of the building as it will look post-development

Notes to news editors/interview requests

Emma Jane Wells is available for interview via the Communications Office – contacts below.  

St Andrews has an in-house ISDN line for radio and a Globelynx camera for TV interviews. To arrange an interview please contact the Communications Office in the first instance.

Notes to picture/online editors

Photographs are attached showing the redeveloped MUSA from The Scores with Edgecliffe Stone Texture and a 3D view of the building as it will look post-development. Additional images are available from the Communications Office – contacts below.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office. Contact Fiona MacLeod on 01334 462108/07714 140 559 or fm43@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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