New home for Stone of Destiny prepares to open to public after £27m revamp

The Stone of Destiny has returned to Perthshire for the first time in more than 700 years

A museum which is the new home of the Stone of Destiny is gearing up to open this weekend following a £27 million redevelopment project.

Perth Museum in the former City Hall will open its doors to the public on Saturday.

Its centrepiece will be the Stone of Destiny, which has returned to Perthshire for the first time in more than 700 years, having originally been kept at nearby Scone.

The museum will also show treasures cared for by Culture Perth and Kinross which span the centuries, with highlights including the 3,000-year-old Carpow logboat, a sword believed to have been given to Bonnie Prince Charlie, Jacobite glassware, and a 17th century silk doublet.

Helen Smout, chief executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, said: “The collections on display in the stunning new museum and the stories they enable us to tell, are globally significant and will have appeal both locally and nationally.

“A very warm welcome awaits everyone who visits both in the museum and the wider city of Perth.”

The museum’s debut exhibition, Unicorn, will explore the cultural history of Scotland’s national animal from antiquity to the present day, featuring items such as illustrations, manuscripts and tapestries.

Visitors will have to book time slots to see the Stone of Destiny, which is free to view and is a highlight of the museum.

Also known as the Stone of Scone, it was long used in the inauguration of Scottish monarchs. However, in 1296, it was seized by King Edward I of England as war loot and taken to London.

It was built into a Coronation Chair at Westminster Abbey and was used in the coronation ceremonies of Kings and Queens of England and, later, Great Britain after the Scottish and English crowns were united in the early 17th century.

In 1950, a group of students carried out a raid to steal the stone from Westminster Abbey and return it to Scotland to try and advance the cause of independence.

It was later found on the site of the High Altar at Arbroath Abbey, and it was used in Queen Elizabeth’s coronation three years later.

The stone was formally returned to Scotland in 1996 to go on display at Edinburgh Castle.

Last year, the Stone of Destiny once again returned to London to carry out its traditional role in the coronation of King Charles, before coming back to Edinburgh Castle.

Perth Museum is operated by Culture Perth and Kinross on behalf of Perth and Kinross Council and is supported by £10 million from the UK Government as part of the Tay Cities Region Deal.

Councillor Grant Laing, Perth and Kinross Council leader, 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.”

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