Perth Museum reveals opening date - Museums Association

Perth Museum reveals opening date

Jacobite treasures will go on public display for the first time in March 2024
Capital projects Openings
A render of the main hall inside Perth Museum
A render of the main hall inside Perth Museum

The new Perth Museum will open to the public at Easter weekend in March 2024 following a £27m development project.

The new permanent exhibition will include Bonnie Prince Charlie's sword and a rare Jacobite wine glass, both on public display for the first time. This will also be the first time the sword has returned to Scotland since it was made in Perth in 1739.

Funded by £10m UK government investment from the £700m Tay Cities Deal and by Perth & Kinross Council, the museum is a transformation of Perth's former city hall by architects Mecanoo.

Through Nationally Recognised museum collections it will tell the story of Perth's place in ancient and modern Scotland, and will also feature a cafe, shop, learning and event spaces, and a major exhibition programme throughout the year.

Bonnie Prince Charlie's solid silver hilted broadsword was made by Perth craftsman James Brown, believed to have been given to him in 1739 by James Drummond, the 3rd Duke of Perth. It would have been an important symbol of Charles Edward Stuart's claim to the Scottish throne while the Jacobite court was in exile in Rome.

Solid silver hilted broadsword, 1739, belonging to Charles Edward Stuart Private collection photo, Benedict Johnson

The Jacobite wine glass will also be seen at Perth Museum for the first time and features the Duke of Perth's family motto, 'Gang Warily'. It has recently been acquired by Culture Perth & Kinross, the charitable trust which will run Perth Museum in partnership with Perth & Kinross Council.


James Drummond, Duke of Perth, played a vital role in the last Jacobite Rising of 1745-6. He was a member of the Jacobite ‘Council of War’ for the invasion of England and attempted, but failed, to induce the clans to charge at the enemy during the final defeat at Culloden. He escaped but died a few weeks later at sea in May 1746.

These new objects will be displayed alongside other significant Jacobite material from the Perth and Kinross museum collections, including a rare and ornate 'star' targe, or Highland shield, possibly made by William Lyndsay. Lyndsay was a shieldwright from Perth responsible for equipping many of the Jacobite troops during their occupation.

Perth ‘star’ targe. Steel, wood, brass, 1740s. Perth Museum, donated By W Gray, 1814 Photo Julie Howden

The museum will tell the story of Scotland through the story of Perth as the nation’s first capital. From when the first Scottish king was inaugurated on the Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone, the city became a significant medieval political, technological and economic centre. The Stone of Destiny will return to Perth from Edinburgh Castle, close to its origins at nearby Scone, for the first time in over 700 years to form the centrepiece of the new museum.

Charles Kinnoull, chair of Culture Perth & Kinross, said: “The collections held here in Perth and Kinross are recognised for their national significance and are in constant development. The opportunity to bring new objects such as this beautiful Jacobite glass and sword alongside loans from national partners and the existing collections and the Stone of Destiny, all within a stunning new home in the former city hall is one which I could not be more excited about.

“The collaboration between many different partners to bring all this about in the heart of one of Scotland’s oldest cities has been outstanding.”


The museum will be the newest addition to Perth and Kinross's cultural scene, which includes the recently transformed Pitlochry Festival Theatre, a revamp of Perth Art Gallery and the ongoing expansion of the Iron Age Crannog Centre in Highland Perthshire.

Councillor Grant Laing, leader of Perth & Kinross Council, said: “Perth Museum will be a landmark attraction that brings Scotland’s history to life and is the culmination of our long-term cultural regeneration vision for Perth. It will significantly increase visitors from across the UK and internationally. It has created new skills and employment opportunities, and it will ignite our sense of civic pride in our beautiful and historic city.

“Visiting Perth Museum will be an unforgettable experience and from next Easter, I am sure we will be welcoming visitors from far and wide to Perth to see its treasures for decades to come.”

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