Council chiefs have struck a £10 million deal to revamp one of Britain’s oldest museums.
The milestone agreement will see a radical redevelopment of the Perth Museum and Art Gallery.
Perth and Kinross Council has appointed BAM Construction to carry out the work, which will involve clearing out a vast collection of artefacts and paintings from the basement.
A new storage area will be built on the edge of the city to keep the artworks.
The local authority, which is bidding to become UK City of Culture in 2021, is still in negotiations to bring the Stone of Destiny to the city and the George Street museum could become its new home.
Architectural firm Hoskins will lead the overall design of the project, with Edinburgh-based BAM carrying out work on the museum. Ogilvie Construction has been tasked with building the new collection store for around 500,000 artworks and treasures at Inveralmond.
Council boss Ian Miller said: “The development at the Museum and Art Gallery is fantastic. The museum will be refurbished to make it more modern and accessible and it will have updated facilities and more display space.
“I think it will deliver tangible benefits for the people of Perth and I hope it encourages many more people in Perth and Kinross, and wider afield, to visit one of our best cultural assets.”
Helen Smout, chief executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, said: “This is the first of many important milestones in an exciting journey which will dramatically transform our cultural landscape, not just in the city centre but throughout Perth and Kinross.
“The multi-million-pound transformation of Perth Museum and Art Gallery will create the modern museum experience expected by the general public, allow Culture Perth and Kinross to showcase a much larger portion of Perth’s incredible collections and attract more big name touring exhibitions.”
He said: “Such an enormous capital investment programme also demonstrates the seriousness of Perth’s 2021 City of Culture bid.”
The museum will close to the public in late 2018 or early 2019, with some services being reduced between now and the closure date. A detailed timetable will be announced nearer the time.
Before the centre shuts, all items must be wrapped and transferred into the new-build collections store.
From February 14, the museum will host a Review and More exhibition showing some of the objects which will be moved, beginning with costumes.
The new storage facility will cost about £3 million, with £7 million being invested into the museum overhaul.
Meanwhile, a competition will be launched soon to give designers the chance to come up with a plan for Perth City Hall.