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Innovative new centre will spotlight the rich history of Scotland’s unheard voices

28 March 2024

Representatives of the Boards of SWI and The Crichton Trust met in Edinburgh on Tuesday 26 March to progress their collaborative partnership on a nationally significant project.

At the heart of the collaboration will be nationally important archives and artifacts of both the SWI and The Crichton. The collections contrast wider society life with developments in institutional care, with shared touch points revealing the lives, health, and voices of women in Scotland. Bringing the complementary collections together creates an exceptional resource to explore, discuss and discover how women shaped and continue to shape rural Scotland.

The Merrick building on the 85-acre Crichton Estate near Dumfries will house the collection and archives, undergoing a £15 million transformation to become The Laundry. The centre which will foster a comprehensive understanding of Scottish women’s lives over the past century, while bringing educational and social activities, jobs, and opportunities to the region.

Glasgow based architecture practice O’DonnellBrown, in collaboration with White Arkitekter, have been selected to lead on the ground-breaking redevelopment. It will see the 1960s utilitarian NHS laundry building transformed into exhibition galleries, shared education, workshop, meeting and study spaces, cake café and shop, archive rooms and research facilities. It will also become the SWI’s national office as the organisation relocates from the Central Belt for the first time.

The Laundry will become a world leading and innovative home for a shared national heritage.

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