Paisley: Secret Collection Open Day

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Paisley: The Secret Collection is the first publicly accessible museum store on a UK High Street, containing thousands of objects reflecting Renfrewshire's amazing heritage and culture.

The Store was open today (Monday 11 February)between 11am and 2pm for free, public drop-in to coincide with February half-term.

The Store is in the basement of the former Littlewoods Department Store at 9 High Street Paisley and is like the Tardis – it’s bigger on the inside!

There are six individual stores or ‘pods’ each containing hundreds of objects from the collection, arranged thematically. 

Visitors today could walk down the central corridor and look through windows in to five out of the six pods.  They would see some of the 1,200 Paisley shawls that are now wrapped and stored on shelving in the Textiles Store, together with fully assembled looms.  Our Ceramics and World Cultures store contains brand new storage cabinets containing ceramics over 500 pieces by the majority of important recent and contemporary British studio potters, such as Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper.

Peering in to the Natural History Store, visitors today could glimpse a set of dinosaur footprints set in a slab of limestone from the Purbeck Formation from the Lower Cretaceous (145 to 100 million years ago) from the Isle of Portland, Dorset.  Many people were delighted to see Buddy the Lion, safely stored in an open-sided packing crate: Buddy came into the museum in 1929 to form part of the "King of the Forest" diorama along with a lioness and four cubs.  In 1999 to celebrate his 70th birthday (since his arrival at Paisley Museum) a children’s naming competition was held in which he was given the name “Buddy” after the local term for people from Paisley i.e. Paisley Buddies.


The Social History Store has a range of domestic and industrial objects that many people will recognise, including a Hillman Imp car made nearby in Linwood.


Tours of The Secret Collection take place on Wednesdays between 2pm and 3pm and are available to book online by email at or by phone on 0141 618 5129.  Tours are free, maximum capacity is 15 people which means we can take visitors in to each store or ‘pod’ (this may change depending on staff working in the stores – please check first if you are interested in a specific collection).



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Renfrewshire Leisure
11 Christie Street

Tel: 0300 300 0250