Newly refurbished Lanarkshire museum is nominated for top UK award


A Lanarkshire museum has been nominated for a top industry award.

The David Livingstone Birthplace Museum in Blantyre is in the running for the best Permanent Exhibition at the Museums + Heritage Awards 2022, following a £9.1 million investment.

Known as the ‘Oscars of the museums world’, the Museums + Heritage Awards celebrate the very best in the world of museums, galleries, cultural and heritage visitor attractions, gathering entries from all across the world, to win one of their prestigious accolades.

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The newly reopened David Livingstone Birthplace Museum, located on the site of the former Blantyre Cotton Works, has undergone a transformative refurbishment and reinterpretation project.

The museum offers visitors a more in-depth perspective on the story of Livingstone, using its globally significant collection to reframe Livingstone’s achievements, his failures, and the opportunity his story holds to encourage a deeper understanding of marginalized histories and Scotland’s role in slavery and colonisation. .

The small and independent David Livingstone Trust, which owns and manages the museum is Scotland’s only nomination in the category.

The birth room of David Livingstone within the museum

Grant MacKenzie, Director and Trustee at David Livingstone Birthplace Musuem and David Livingstone Trust told Lanarkshire Live: “We are delighted to be recognized by the Museums and Heritage Awards as one of the best Permanent Exhibitions this year. This recognition is truly reflective of the importance of Livingtone’s story for the modern day.

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“When many of the books about Livingstone were initially written, there wasn’t much information about the people he met and worked with in Africa. We have found out lots more about them since then, and the reinterpretation of the collection is much more reflective of the real experiences Livingstone had.”

Professor Sir Geoff Palmer, Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University and member of the David Livingstone Birthplace Museum Advisory Panel added: “History and education go together and this can be seen at this museum. A warm welcome awaits all visitors.”

The museum refurbishment involved essential repairs to Shuttle Row and the major upgrading of the visitor experience.

The new permanent exhibition includes world-class interpretation with items featured including Livingstone’s letters and journals, the red shirt the explorer was wearing when he first met Henry Morton Stanley in 1871 and objects belonging to two of Livingstone’s most well-known crew members, Abdullah Susi and James Chuma.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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