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Mon December 04 2023

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Council considers revamp of Dumbarton’s oldest building

2 May 19 Plans to convert Dumbarton’s oldest building into a library and museum are to be considered by councillors next month.

Glencairn House would be transformed under the proposals being considered by West Dumbartonshire Council. The proposals also involve turning the existing library at Strathleven Place into a community collections store and archive, where the public could explore objects from West Dunbartonshire’s museum collections for the first time.

Glencairn House dates from 1623 and was constructed to be the townhouse for the local Earls of Glencairn. It was also the site where national poet Robert Burns received his freemanship of the town in 1787.

The £4.6m project would see the vacant building on Dumbarton High Street redeveloped as the library and museum. Outline plans propose using the existing historic three-storey building and adding a new four-storey extension to the rear with views over the River Leven and Dumbarton Castle.

The building would include dedicated spaces for children and families, computer use and quiet study alongside books and recreational area with a coffee station. The venue would also offer improved physical access, with level access via the main entrance on the High Street and internal lift to each floor.

The museum facilities would include an entire floor dedicated to local history floor and incorporating an exhibition space. This would be further supported by displays of artefacts throughout all floors of the building. Items that could be displayed regularly for the first time include a Roman Medallion from 193AD, the bronze ‘Skellat Bell’ from around 900AD, Sir Jackie Stewart’s Dubonnet trophy, and fine art from the Overtoun Collection.

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Alongside the library and museum, the proposals would also turn the B-Listed building into a social hub, offering meeting and event spaces for community use as well as a flexible event area for exhibitions and public displays.

The current Dumbarton Library building would be transformed into a community collections store and archive, open to the public. This new facility would, for the first time, enable access to the stored objects and documents in West Dunbartonshire’s heritage collections. This includes access to documents that describe the history of the area such as a letter under the Privy Seal of James III; a charter signed by Mary Queen of Scots; and a Commission by King James VI to the Baillies of Dumbarton to apprehend and try persons suspected of witchcraft, signed by the King himself.

The proposals will be presented to Councillors at a meeting of the infrastructure, regeneration and economic development committee on 15 May.

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