Plans have been announced to extend and refurbish the 15th century Tolbooth building adjacent to Stonehaven
A spokesman for the Stonehaven Tolbooth Association, the charity that operates the museum there, explained that visitor numbers had more than doubled over the last three years.
They now exceed 20,000 per annum, making the museum a significant tourist attraction in Kincardineshire.
The spokesman said: “The sheer weight of numbers has meant that the visitor experience has occasionally been hindered and made the viewing of artefacts difficult at times.
‘‘In addition, the number and variety of objects on display has had to be limited owing to a lack of space.”
The charity engaged two architects, to provide visions for expanding the museum within the current footprint of the Tolbooth.
A number of concepts were produced - all involved utilising the existing inner and outer courtyards which are under-used.
Detailed discussions have been held with Aberdeenshire Council, Historic Scotland and other interested third parties and the unanimous consensus is for the concept illustrated above.
The extension will involve covering the two courtyards, to provide extra space for the museum, and providing a glass enclosed first floor which can also be used by the museum or utilised by an independent operator as a restaurant or other facility.
The opportunity will also be taken during the building work to refurbish many parts of the existing Tolbooth building, which are showing signs of deterioration.
The spokesman added: “The next stage in the process is to seek formal, statutory consents for redevelopment of the property by applying for Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent.
“Undoubtedly, there will be difficulties along the road, especially as the Tolbooth is a Grade A listed building.
‘‘However, with Historic Scotland backing the project, one major hurdle has already been overcome.”