New images show how Perth City Hall will be transformed as part of a radical £30 million culture review.
A series of artist’s impressions reveal the main body of the revamped venue will be filled with iconic artefacts, marking hundreds of years of Scottish history.
A display telling the story of the Stone of Destiny will be at the heart of the gallery, despite a question mark over whether the artefact will ever be released to the Fair City.
On Wednesday, councillors will discuss preparations for the launch of the new-look city hall, which is expected to bring in an extra 280,000 visitors a year by 2023.
A new culture trust could be formed to run the venue, as well as oversee an overhaul of Perth Museum and Art Gallery and plans to extend AK Bell Library with a new collections store.
According to a report to go before the authority’s strategic policy and resources committee, any new culture body – likely to involve a merger between Horsecross and Culture Perth and Kinross – will require a workforce review.
A note to committee members states: “There are limited skills in museums and exhibitions interpretation, fundraising and customer relationship management, and these are increasingly important as the City Hall project comes on stream.
“The scale, profile and reputation of the employer is key for attracting and retaining these skills as the V&A Dundee experience demonstrates.”
Last week, it emerged Horsecross had been given 12 months to make a series of improvements as part of the review.
Meanwhile, construction crews have entered the next phase of preparatory work at the city hall site.
The latest work involves five weeks of trial excavations around the exterior of the building.
Council leader Murray Lyle said: “It is very exciting to see the next stage of the City Hall project beginning, bringing a historic building back into use.
“The new attraction will be a fitting home for the story of how Perth was a medieval powerhouse, shaping ancient and modern Scotland.”
He said: “We also, of course, hope it will offer a home to the Stone of Destiny which is so intrinsic to our story. I look forward to welcoming the world to our perfect place and space.”
Scottish Secretary David Mundell welcomed the latest artist’s impressions. “I am thrilled to see these ambitious designs for Perth City Hall,” he said.
“Perth is a real cultural hotspot and I am pleased that the UK Government is supporting the city’s transformation as part of its £150 million investment in the Tay Cities Region Deal.”
Artefact selection process begins
Culture chiefs are busy selecting items from the city’s vast collection for inclusion in Perth City Hall’s new Kingdom of Alba display.
Among these will be a 400-year-old doublet, once an essential part of a fashionable man’s wardrobe.
The treasure was in the hands of the McBain Menzies family for many years but is thought to have come originally from the Stewarts of Killiecrankie.
It was in 2003 that the Perthshire donor carried the garment of pale golden silk into Perth Museum, leaving the curator lost for words.
She immediately recognised it as being of national and international interest.
The 1620s doublet was in such a fragile condition that researchers did not want to handle it for fear of damaging it further.
Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery fund, some 300 hours of meticulous conservation was carried out before it was able to be displayed.
The new city hall will also host a spectacular banner from the city’s old Pullar Dye Works, which would have been used in demonstrations and processions.
A large Pictish stone, which stands at the entrance of Perth Museum and Art Gallery, is also likely to be transferred to the city hall.