Trust to pursue second funding bid after support for Trimontium Museum agreed

Councillors and trustees outside museum building

Published: Tuesday, 7th March 2017

The Trimontium Trust will shortly submit a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid to expand and improve their Melrose museum

The Trust approached us for assistance to deliver an estimated £1.9m project to expand and improve the Trimontium Museum, located in the Ormiston Institute. This follows our agreement last week to provide £60,000 of capital funding and around £63,000 of in-kind support.

Ambitious improvements to Trimontium Museum

The main capital project has been costed at £1.2m, with the other £0.7m being used for displays, interpretation and an ambitious activity plan.

More than double the existing display space could be created as part of the redevelopment, with plans for improved online presence and further enhanced outreach and learning activities.

Councillors agreed to support the trust with funding and in-kind support, including architectural services, at a meeting last Thursday.

Dr John Reid, Chairman of the Trimontium Trust

“A bid to HLF was unsuccessful last year, but we have been encouraged to resubmit and we are very grateful to Scottish Borders Council and Live Borders for their ongoing support in developing the new bid, and of course the financial support agreed last week.

“The HLF bidding process is highly competitive and there is no guarantee of success, but we feel that we now have a unique opportunity to revitalise the museum, which has been in existence for 25 years.

“The project would deliver a much improved visitor attraction in which we could display significantly more artefacts of local and national importance, some of which have never been seen in public to date.

“The number of visitors to the museum might well rise from 3,000 towards 12,000 a year in a distinctive community building that would also attract more volunteers - the beating heart of the enterprise.”

Councillor Vicky Davidson, Executive Member for Culture, Sport, Youth and Communities

“I am delighted that we have been able to support the Trimontium Trust with their ambitious plan for the museum.

“The museum has huge potential, and in an expanded and refreshed form could contribute greatly to the tourism offering of the Scottish Borders.

“The initial designs already produced by our in-house architects are really exciting and would result in an upgraded museum with dedicated exhibition space and, very appropriately, wonderful views towards the Eildon Hills.”

We administer the Ormiston Institute on behalf of the Ormiston Institute Trust and the trustees are fully supportive of the plans for the project.

Local ward members Councillors Iain Gillespie, David Parker and Jim Torrance

“We are fully supportive of the Trimontium Trust and their bid for Heritage Lottery funding. Melrose already draws in a large number of visitors every year, but this project would see the development of an attraction which would bring in additional visitors in its own right.

“The museum is highly regarded by visitors and provides an excellent learning experience on the Romans in the Borders. School visits are encouraged and indeed the local primary school was very much involved with a project on the Synton hoard of silver denarii on show in the museum.

“The upgraded museum would encourage people exploring Roman attractions, especially the well-established ones in Northumberland, to travel on to the Scottish Borders and no doubt discover what else the town and wider region has to offer.

“It is very appropriate that in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology the Trust is pushing ahead with this project bid, and we congratulate the group of volunteers involved for their ambition and are pleased to give it our wholehearted support.”

Further information

Images are available on our Flickr page.

Read a copy of the report which was considered.