Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s domestic masterpiece has been granted official museum accreditation for the first time.
The Hill House in Helensburgh, Argyll, is the 10th National Trust for Scotland (NTS) property to gain the accreditation, which is the UK industry standard for museums and galleries.
The house, which is undergoing a radical conservation project, reopened in June following the construction of a giant “box” to protect its saturated walls from further damage from the elements.
The property has been encased in a giant ‘box’ to protect it from the elements (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The Museum Accreditation Scheme is assessed by Museums Galleries Scotland in conjunction with Arts Council England, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Museums Council and is a benchmark that recognises how museums are run, how the collections are managed and how the venue engages with audiences.
David Hopes, head of collections and interiors at NTS, said: “By becoming an accredited museum we’re able to borrow items more easily and apply for funding.
“It also opens the door for the collection to be recognised as being of national significance, a scheme which is only open to accredited museums.
“The award shows that the Hill House has reached certain standards in terms of how it is managed, how we look after the collection and how we make the property accessible to the public.
“It also means we can make a claim to own any archaeology found in the vicinity.”
He added: “It’s always a long process gaining accreditation but it’s definitely worth it.
“We’ve got a good variety of properties that we’ve put forward for the scheme over the years in terms of location and property type.
“They’ve all got strong research interest and support and really show the breadth of what we do at the trust to safeguard these places for future generations.”
The other NTS properties that already have accreditation are Culloden, Culross Palace, House of Dun, Fyvie Castle, Broughton House, Pollok House, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Brodick Castle and Hugh Miller’s Birthplace Cottage.
Visitors can view the property from walkways (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The “box” was created around the Hill House as it is in need of protection after being lashed by rain around 190 days a year for the past 115 years, with the building soaking up water like a sponge.
It may take up to three years for the house to dry out fully before conservation work can begin in earnest.
The total cost of rescuing the Hill House will be in the region of £4.5 million, £3 million of which is being drawn down from the National Trust for Scotland’s reserves.
The remaining £1.5 million will come from donations to the largest single fundraising campaign ever undertaken by the charity.