A major National Lottery windfall for Linlithgow Heritage Trust was announced in November last year.
However, it was not the full story by any stretch of the imagination and there is still a mountain to climb in terms of fundraising.
The grant will be used for an ambitious move that will take the local museum from its current premises in Annet House to Linlithgow Partnership Centre, the former County Buildings.
But the £254,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, deemed a “first round pass”, comes with one major condition – the Trust must raise a further £165,000 on its own to secure the money.
With the total cost of the relocation project estimated at around £500,000, Trust members are now busy trying to amass the additional funds.
Sheila Menzies, secretary of Linlithgow Heritage Trust, explained: “The Trust faces many challenges over the coming months.
“Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund is conditional upon the Trust raising a further £165,000.
“We have already secured £45,000 of this from an external funder and are preparing funding applications to raise additional funds.
“West Lothian Council is also helping us with this ambitious programme; we have already benefitted from the expertise of council staff and the promise of in-kind support.
“However, we now need support from the local community to ensure the plans become a reality.”
In a bid to help raise some of the money needed, the Trust has organised an Antique, Vintage and Collectors Fair on Saturday, March 18, in Linlithgow’s Queen Margaret Hall.
The event will run from 9am to 4pm, with entry costing £1.
An auctioneer from Ramsay Cornish (Edinburgh) will also be available for valuations of local treasures from 10am to 2pm but there will be an additional charge for this service.
Meanwhile, the project is progressing in the right direction – the Trust is in the process of appointing design consultants to take the museum’s relocation plans to the next phase.
For while the bulk of the Heritage Lottery Fund award is conditional on the Trust raising an additional £165,000, the lottery has released some of its money to enable the project to move forward.
Sheila explained: “We were absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund made an initial award of £16,200.
“This will enable museum design consultants to be appointed within the next few weeks to start translating the vision for the new museum into reality.
“The support from the Heritage Lottery Fund will also fund a programme of local consultation, which will give the community a chance to shape the new museum.
“Everyone will have a chance to contribute to the consultation.”
The project is still in the early stages though.
Sheila explained: “We are still in phase one of what is a half million pound project.
“We’ve not been written a bumper cheque and we still have to go through a second phase lottery application process before the full amount is confirmed.
“So we’ve got a long way to go!
“Ultimately, though, our vision is to create a community-centred museum with a full education and outreach programme.
“That’s why it is so important the public is fully consulted on the design for the museum.”
Everyone in the town will be given an opportunity to have a say on the future vision for Linlithgow’s much-loved museum.
More details on the public consultation will be announced in the very near future.
Meantime, public support is needed to fund one very special area that will be contained within the relocated museum.
Sheila added: “We need readers help to raise a further £15,000 in the local community.
“These funds will be used to equip a dedicated education and reminiscence suite which will provide a base for workshop sessions – both for local school pupils and life-long learners.
“This space will greatly expand the opportunities to hold a wide range of activities within the new museum, which will be accessible to everyone.
“With local support, we can make this happen.”
To support the ambitious relocation plans or for more details, visit www.annethousemuseum.org.uk.