Helensburgh Outdoor Museum

June 2015 saw the launch of Scotland’s first outdoor museum in Helensburgh, developed and delivered by art organisation, WAVEparticle, as part of Argyll & Bute Council’s Helensburgh CHORD project.

The Outdoor Museum took advantage of the fact that over one hundred bollards were being placed around Helensburgh’s  Colquhoun Square.  WAVEparticle worked closely with lead architects Austin-Smith:Lord to redesign these bollards so that they could be transformed into plinths - each plinth pre-prepared so that it could display objects, images and texts of significance to the town.

The Outdoor Museum proudly displays a collection of treasured objects brought forward by local residents and organisations in the town.

These permanent exhibits include a series of historic artefacts encapsulated in acrylic; bronze and stone reproductions of original artefacts; and three specially commissioned artworks by artists Lesley Carruthers, Kate Ive and Chris Coleman-Smith. Each object has its own plinth and carries a combination of text and image that place the exhibit in a historical, cultural and geographic context. Each plinth has a QR code that connects the viewer to an expansive website (make ‘website’ into a link). 

Of the 134 available plinths in the town centre, 15 have now been permanently activated in this first stage of the collection and nominations are being gathered that will see yearly additions for the foreseeable future.

“We imagined Scotland’s first Outdoor Museum as a place where local treasures could be permanently on display alongside objects of national significance and newly commissioned artworks, reflecting both the big history of the town and the smaller stories that make up our world. We envisaged this Museum with a collection open to the elements, where the wind and rain and sun and touch of hand, make their own contribution to the collection as it grows over the years.” 
– Peter McCaughey, Lead Artist, WAVEparticle

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the Outdoor Museum, including: the Crichton Family, Michael and Anna Curley, Margery Osborne, Iain Baird, Helensburgh Lions Club, Hermitage Academy, Helensburgh Scouts and Helensburgh Heritage Trust and to all those who took the time to nominate an object or story, all of which are being archived on the Outdoor Museum website.