Redevelopment of Provost Skene’s House approved
Proposals for the redevelopment of Provost Skene’s House have been noted and agreed by members of the Education and Children’s Services Committee today (Thursday 17 November).
The transformation of the historic building, which dates from 1545, will provide an opportunity to both extend and enhance the city’s cultural offering to residents and visitors-alike right in the heart of the city centre.
The work is being made possible following the decision by the Finance, Policy and Resources Committee in September (2016) to allocate £1.5million from the City Centre Master Plan.
The redevelopment will meet a number of the Masterplan’s objectives by providing a point of interest for residents and visitors; honouring the city’s heritage and by helping to position Aberdeen as a city of global significance and influence.
The overall budget for the refurbishment is £1.875million. This includes funding of £500,000 from MUSE on top of £125,000, which had already been invested in replacing the boiler and protecting the House during the demolition of St Nicholas House and the construction of Marischal Square.
A full design team has been commissioned and a comprehensive upgrade to the electrical and mechanical systems along with some building works including new shop, reception area and toilets and the interpretation and design fit out will ensure that one of Aberdeen’s oldest buildings is restored and enhanced prior to reopening.
The new displays will celebrate the story of locals, past and present including Provost Skene, and the contribution they made to Aberdeen’s success, which in turn has helped to create the city, and the region’s rich and proud heritage.
The themes of innovators, creators, inventors, entertainers and sportspeople will be presented throughout the house and to define the criteria for selection and to gain a broad overview of candidates a steering group has been established to advise the design team. The group will include representation from the tourism, cultural, academic and business sectors.
The new displays will encourage interaction and exploration and will include digital technology. It is envisaged that the displays will draw on Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums collections together with material from the City Archives.
The ground floor will house an Access Gallery for use by visitors with mobility issues, which will enable visitors to virtually explore the content presented on the upper levels. The gallery will also contain seating and resource material.
Councillor Angela Taylor, Convener of Education and Children’s Services Committee said: “The proposals for Provost Skene’s House are very exciting and will transform this popular museum into a city centre attraction for residents and visitors-alike who will be able to learn and regale in the people, past and present, from Aberdeen and the wider region, who have helped make this city known across the world for its rich culture and heritage.”
The house is named after one of Aberdeen's most famous residents, Lord Provost George Skene, who is thought to have commissioned the carved plaster ceilings.
Provost Skene’s House, which in recent years has been a museum, closed its doors ahead of the start of the multi-million pound Marischal Square development.