THE REFURBISHMENT of the newly-named Kirkcaldy Galleries took a major step forward this week when it was officially handed over to the Fife Cultural Trust.
The keys to the town’s long-established central library and museum were given to Trust representatives from Fife Council’s building services on Monday.
With the bulk of the building work now complete on the Council-funded £2.5m project, the Trust now has the complex job of fitting out the spaces over the next few months.
And when it re-opens on Saturday, June 8, it will offer a single venue for books, visitor information, learning, heritage and art.
The Press was given an exclusive tour of the revamped building to see how it has been transformed to provide a modern library, museum with new displays, art gallery, brand new cafe, shop and Visit Scotland information point - all under the one roof.
The new cafe is on the left hand-side where the former reading room used to be.
The original herring bone teak flooring, from 1928, has been uncovered beneath the carpet tiles in the cafe, sanded down and given a textured finish to ensure its surface isn’t slippery.
New lighting and radiators have been added to the library, and the disabled toilet has been refurbished.
At the main entrance the marble has been cleaned, in the reference room new panels have been added and two rooms will be used to house a permanent display showcasing moments from Kirkcaldy’s history.
The display will include 24 moments from the town’s past through photographs, documents, paintings and artefacts - from when coal was first formed to the recent refurbishment of the High Street.
It will also feature the Beatles visit to Kirkcaldy in 1963 and Adam Smith publishing “The Wealth of Nations” in 1776.
A new larger lift will take visitors to the first floor art galleries, a relocated studies and family history room.
The roof has also been overhauled and modern environmental controls will offer improvements allowing Kirkcaldy Galleries to borrow exhibits from other world-class collections as well as keeping its own collections safe and secure.
Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy Area Committee, said: “I’m looking forward to seeing Kirkcaldy Galleries offering the people of Kirkcaldy and beyond a fully integrated 21st century building that retains all of its important architectural features.
‘‘I commend the work of Fife Council’s property and building services who were able to deliver the repairs and maintenance issues of leaking rooks, failed drainage and flooding as part of the refurbishment.”
Dorothy Browse, Fife Cultural Trust’s service manager for libraries, arts, museums and archives, added: “It’s been a pleasure to work with a project team that has taken such care to ensure the building retains or regains its former splendour.”