Perth’s biggest tourist destination has unveiled ambitious expansion plans after attracting more than 120,000 people through hosting the popular Poppies: Weeping Windows sculpture.
Proposals to create a wedding and conference venue at The Black Watch Castle and Museum have been submitted to Perth and Kinross Council – following on from the previous £3.5 million development at the site, which saw a café built and led to the museum providing a permanent home for archives on the history of The Black Watch.
The plan (click image for full view)
The main aim of the latest plan, which will increase floor space in the café, is to attract more visitors following the success of Poppies: Weeping Window display, which saw more than 121,500 people visit Perth to remember the country’s war dead.
The Black Watch Castle and Museum was the only Scottish mainland venue to host the sculpture which marked the centenary of the First World War. The famous regiment lost nearly 9,000 men in the conflict with another 20,000 injured.
Poppies: Weeping Window sculpture flowed from the castle’s second floor turret window on to the ground below.
Anne Kinnes, chief executive officer at museum, explained he reasons behind the plan.
“This is the next part of the journey to sustain the home of The Black Watch,” she said.
“It should increase our visitor numbers; maintain our five-star grading and ensure we are number one on TripAdvisor for Perth. We also aim to encourage and develop our learning and education programme, while also enabling customers to get married in our iconic castle.
“In addition, we want to be able to hold receptions.”
She continued: “The plan will develop a new multi-use space that will allow us to have more capacity for larger temporary exhibitions to grow our successful lecture programme and also provide up-to-date audio visual equipment, including a hearing loop, to ensure all our guests have a five-star experience.”
Mrs Kinnes said the museum wants to build on the momentum from the Weeping Window by attracting more local visitors.
“In 2015/16, we had an annual footfall to the castle of 72, 000,” she added.
“During the Poppies: Weeping Window display from June 30 to September 25, 2016, we had 121,500 visitors alone. We haven’t confirmed our final numbers for the year.
“After our most successful year to date, I am delighted that we are now planning the next stage of our exciting journey here at the castle and museum.
“Our new facilities will enable us to continue to grow and to sustain the home of The Black Watch and continue to share the story of this iconic regiment with many visitors.
“It is only with the support and commitment of staff, volunteers and our local customers that we continue to grow. I hope it is going to be yet another exciting year for us all.”
Mrs Kinnes said the costs of the plan had not yet been finalised.