Redevelopment History

Redevelopment History

Kilmartin Museum’s Redevelopment Project : The Journey So Far



The challenges of running a Museum with the current building layout were beginning to affect our work, so we resolved that action was required. We undertook a feasibility study to understand whether the current site and buildings could be redeveloped and this work concluded that it was possible to build a new museum on this site.  It also confirmed that redevelopment was essential to secure the long term sustainability of the organisation.


We received funding from Museums Galleries Scotland and the Association of Independent Museums to take the project to the next stage. The first step was the appointment of project staff and consultants and planning began.


Development funding was granted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and LEADER to progress the project and the preparation of a Round 1 HLF application began. Reiach and Hall Architects were selected as part of a competitive tendering exercise, and appointed to produce a design concept.  Consultants were appointed to produce a Digital Media Strategy, and Business Plan and we produced an Interpretation Strategy.  The approximate costs of the endeavour were established at this time.

In December 2013, a Round 1 HLF application was submitted.


In March 2014, we received the disappointing news that the Heritage Lottery Fund had decided not to award a Round 1 Grant, which we needed to develop the project to the next stage.

The Heritage Lottery Fund were keen to emphasise that they recognised the international significance of Argyll’s heritage and the important role that Kilmartin Museum plays in conserving and telling the story of this heritage. However, they advised there was a very high demand for funds and our proposal was not as competitive as other submissions.  Importantly, however, the Heritage Lottery Fund advised they would welcome a second bid with a revised financial request.

After a period of reflection, and having secured further development funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Museums Galleries Scotland, we began work on a resubmission. A Funding Strategy was produced, we realigned the Project Vision, and undertook further interpretation and activity planning work.  Importantly,  Reiach and Hall Architects undertook a major revision of the building design, as part of a cost reduction exercise.


After months of hard work, and community consultation, we submitted our second Round 1 Application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was a mammoth task involving hundreds of pages of supporting documentation made up of reports, strategies, costings and images and a small army of volunteer advisors giving their (literally!) priceless time and expertise.

This work was funded by Argyll and Bute Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise and we are most grateful for their continued belief in the project.

In August 2015 we were delighted beyond words to announce that our first-round application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was successful.

The development funding granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund means that we can progress our plans in preparation for a Round Two application. This has been matched by development funding from Argyll and Bute Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Success with a second-round application will give us the green light to commence capital works in 2019, putting us on course to reopen the new museum in 2020. This does depend, however, on a successful match funding campaign – see our Donate Page for more details.


Work continued on the project throughout the year, with a lot of energy being focused on planning this next crucial stage. The  was joined by consultant Andrew Pinkerton to project manage the building design team. Reiach and Hall Architects began work on the next stages of the design. Rachel Hunter, a heritage consultant, joined the team to support the staff to develop the interpretation strategy, exhibition design and activity plan, which will set out what we’ll do in the new building.  Staff spent a great deal of time in the year working on the match funding campaign and attended events in the Scottish Parliament and Westminster to highlight the importance of the project.


The Project team worked hard during 2017, on all aspects of the project, including the match funding campaign, in order to make a submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund in November 2017. You can find out how we are doing with the campaign here.

At the beginning of April, we advertised a contract for Exhibition Design and for a Natural History Advisor to bring the same level of expertise as we have in house for archaeology.  Edinburgh-based Bright joined us as Exhibition Designers and Josephine Anthony and Ross Preston came on board as our Natural History consultants. They worked closely with Museum staff, architects Reiach and Hall and our Interpretation and Activity Planning team to produce an exciting new look for the Museum.


In lead up to the HLF outcome, the Project team welcomed a group from HLF, including the Chair of the Scotland Committee, to the Museum. This went well and finally at the beginning of May we were able to announce that our submission had been successful and we were awarded £3.2 million. This is fantastic news for the Redevelopment project and we are thrilled with the result. There is still some work to be done however and we are currently working on fulfilling funders requirements. If you feel you may be able to help us on our journey, click here to find out how you can be involved. If you don’t feel able to help financially, simply passing on the word can be very helpful!

We will have exciting developments coming up soon, so if you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive updates please contact