About the Museum
Paisley Museum and Art Galleries houses one of the largest municipal art collections in Scotland, including over 800 paintings. The Museum and Art Galleries were gifted to the town of Paisley by the industrialist Sir Peter Coats in 1871. The building, which also houses Paisley Library and the Coats Observatory , was designed by Glasgow architect John Honeyman of the firm of Honeyman and Keppie. The art collection concentrates largely on works by late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Scottish artists, such as the Glasgow School and the Scottish Colourists. In addition there is a contemporary collection which includes work by artists such as Steven Campbell and John Byrne, who was born in Paisley.
The museum houses a collection of objects and documents covering the local history of Paisley and Renfrewshire, especially the importance of the textiles industry, tracing the history of the luxury shawl industry which developed in Paisley. The museum has recreated the work and a weaving using a traditional hand loom can be seen on site. Additionally, it contains an archaeological collection which includes objects from Ancient Egypt and Babylon and an extensive natural history collection. One of the most important items in the Museum's collection is the Arbuthnott Missal which was presented to the Museum by another of the Coats family, Archibald. This missal is the only extant pre-Reformation missal of the Scottish Use and in 2007 it was awarded a prestigious top award in the British Library's Hidden Treasures Brought to Life competition.
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