Malcolm Stewart's portrait of David Livingstone

David Livingstone Centre to undergo redevelopment

Simon Stephens, 09.10.2014
Venue in Lanarkshire to submit lottery application next year
The David Livingstone Centre is to undergo a major redevelopment with a lottery application due early next year, delegates at the Museums Association conference in Cardiff heard today.

The project in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, was discussed as part of a session on The Alfresco Museum, which looked at the ways museums can work with local communities to bring the narrative of a museum outside. The other two projects covered were Culloden Battlefield Centre near Inverness and the Bannockburn Heritage Centre in Stirlingshire.

The David Livingstone Centre, which is run by the National Trust for Scotland, includes the birthplace of the Scottish explorer and missionary.

“Our visitor numbers were dwindling and we were at the point where, in order to have a sustainable visitor centre, we needed a redevelopment,” said Martha Burns Findlay, the learning officer at the David Livingstone Centre. “In terms of moving forward we have had to think about the audiences we want to engage with as our existing audience is not enough to sustain us.”

Findlay said working with the local community was at the heart of the project. The centre has been subject to vandalism in recent years and there was a feeling that local people needed to be better engaged with the centre.

The National Trust for Scotland has been working with LordCulture with Gareth Hoskins Architects to prepare a plan for the redevelopment of the centre and its surroundings.