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Work begins on Aberdeenís new Museums Collections Centre

26/03/15

The Leader of Aberdeen City Council Councillor Jenny Laing officially broke the ground to mark the start of the construction of a £5.85m purpose-built Museums Collections Centre in the Northfield area of the city yesterday [Wednesday 25 March 2015].

Councillor Jenny Laing & Keith Taylor, Managing Director of Robertson. The Museums Collections Centre will be the main location for the Council's collections of historical objects and artworks while not on public display. It will also be a focal point for increasing opportunities for people to engage with arts and culture, and a venue in its own right for the community, city and wider region.

The contract to build the centre was won by the Robertson Group and the work is expected to take until November 2015, with a subsequent period to enable the correct environmental conditions to be achieved.

Leader of Aberdeen City Council Councillor Jenny Laing said: "This is a major investment in the people of Northfield and their local community. This £5.85m state-of-art centre will not only be home to the city's collections while they are not on display, it will be a real hub of creative engagement for local residents. This will include involving local school children and the local community in naming the facility.

"The centre will include space for community use and there are plans to develop a volunteer programme which will offer those taking part the chance to learn new skills and develop confidence through volunteering opportunities and associated training. The contractor will be required to employ apprentices, which will provide work opportunities for local young people.

"This is more than a first-class facility - it is an investment in people young and older in one of the city's regeneration areas."

Keith Taylor, Managing Director for Robertson Construction Eastern, said: "We have enjoyed a long and positive relationship with Aberdeen City Council for many years; in particular we successfully completed the nearby Marchburn Care Home and look forward to working within the Northfield community again.

"We are proud to have been chosen to deliver a centre which will be home to some of the city's most loved and treasured possessions while not on display. The construction comprises some innovative techniques and materials. Both Robertson and our partners are pleased to be involved with the delivery of an important resource for the city."

The centre will include space for community use and there will be regular opportunities for the community to select and showcase items from the collection in the facility and elsewhere within the local community.

A volunteer programme will be developed on site, primarily aimed at the residents in the immediate area. Working with other agencies in the city, the staff will provide skills and develop confidence, through volunteering opportunities and associated training.

Cultural engagement with Northfield will be enhanced through guided walks and heritage trails, which could include public art and link into a city-wide network.

Council services, including the Creative Learning team, are considering how to offer participatory arts opportunities within the building. The Museums and Galleries team will also provide greater public access to the collections through general and specialised open-store tours, handling and reminiscence sessions and in-depth research. A programme of school visits, activities and learning events is also being developed.

The facility will provide local community groups a direct link to council officers with experience in grant-application writing, who will be able to offer advice and guidance, which was identified as a need during early community consultation.