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New museum for university

The future of, and public access to, many of the University of St Andrews’ ancient artefacts will be safeguarded, thanks to a near-half million pound grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Museum Collections unit has secured £449,000 from the HLF to allow the University to preserve and display some of its oldest and most significant collections in a restored coach- house next to the School of Art History. Further funds from the University and from a range of other bodies and private donations have brought the current funding total to over one million pounds, with efforts continuing to raise more to complete the project.

The new venue – to be known as MUSA (Museum of the University of St Andrews) – will house four galleries, an education centre (called the Learning Loft) and a terrace with panoramic views over St Andrews Bay. It is expected that work will begin on site in May and that the museum will open in summer 2008.

Emma-Jane McAdam, Project Curator, Museum Collections Unit said, “Currently the University’s historically significant and important collections are scattered around a number of University sites. With the completion of MUSA, a central museum facility will be created, to show artefacts and specimens from all the University’s collections together in one place for the first time.

“MUSA will work with and complement the current displays and temporary exhibition space in the Gateway Building and the zoological displays of the Bell Pettigrew Museum. We hope that it will appeal to all types of visitor – the local community, school children and tourists to the area as well as students and staff of the University.”

Artefacts which will be on permanent public display in MUSA, include the University’s three medieval maces, which are currently only on show during graduation ceremonies. Other items include the Thomas Chalmers window from St Salvator’s College Chapel, college silver, an oil painting by Scottish Colourist Samuel Peploe, stunning wax anatomical models and silver archery medals won by famous students between 1620 and 1750.

Commenting from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Colin McLean, Manager for Scotland, said, “This project will bring the history of the University of St Andrews to life. People will now have access to artefacts, some of which have never been seen before, which tell the story of the University and its place in the lives of students, staff and townsfolk. We are delighted to support a museum which will conserve and celebrate the history of this important seat of learning.”

The award will also allow the University to attract new and diverse audiences by providing a launchpad for an ambitious, five-year learning and access programme. The programme aims to reduce barriers to access by encouraging new audiences (especially primary and secondary school groups, local community groups, lifelong learners and audiences from across Fife) to visit the new museum and participate in specially designed activities such as object handling sessions, art and craft workshops, talks, tours and performances in the museum’s Learning Loft.

The learning and access programme also aims to encourage greater community involvement in the creation of displays in MUSA, which will also act as a facility for training museum staff and a research centre for Museum and Gallery Studies.

 

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS

For information on the MUSA project, please contact: Emma Jane McAdam, Project Curator, Tel: 01334 463946, email: ejm92@st- andrews.ac.uk

Further funding for MUSA has been obtained from The New Park Educational Trust, The Foyle Foundation, After Many Days Club, Alan Evans Memorial Trust, the Digital Challenge Fund and the Scottish Museums Council, in addition to a number of generous private donations.

A range of sponsorship options have been formulated with packages ranging upwards for gifts received from £100 to corporate sponsorship options of over £300,000. Special packages can be tailored to individual requirements and ranges of benefits are available including membership of a Friends of MUSA group.

To make a donation or support MUSA, please contact: Development Office, University of St Andrews, Tel: 01334 462113, email: develop@st- andrews.ac.uk

For further information on the Heritage Lottery Fund, please visit www.hlf.org.uk or contact: Shiona Mackay on 01786 870638, email shiona@theprdepartment.fsnet.co.uk or Sam Goody on 020 7591 6033, samanthag@hlf.org.uk.

 

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews

Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer – 01334 467227, 07900 050 103 or gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk

Ref: press releases/musa

View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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