Jim Clark Museum to be ‘a building for Duns’

Following the huge success of the 2015 Jim Clark Weekend in Duns, details have emerged of plans to update the town’s museum dedicated to the motor racing legend.

Vicky Davidson, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for culture, sport, youth and communities, gave an overview of the development.

Scottish Borders Council Architectural Manager Ray Cherry and Councillor Vicky Davidson with a model of the proposed expansion to the Jim Clark Museum

Scottish Borders Council Architectural Manager Ray Cherry and Councillor Vicky Davidson with a model of the proposed expansion to the Jim Clark Museum

“The council has run this building for over 40 years,” she said, “and as the event at the weekend showed, the interest in Jim Clark and his legacy continues to grow, so ahead of the anniversary of his death in 2018, we wanted to look at ways of improving and building on that legacy.

“At the moment we have the design and some committed funding. I’m one of five trustees, and we’re now aiming to bridge the funding gap.

“We’re aiming to bring in over £300,000 and we hope everyone will join together in helping us achieve that aim.”

SBC architectural manager Ray Cherry added: “One of the ideas that guided our thinking was that we wanted to be able to interlink the museum with other Duns facilities, like the library over the road.”

Artists impression of the proposed expansion to the Jim Clark Mueseum

Artists impression of the proposed expansion to the Jim Clark Mueseum

“We wanted to be attracting people to Duns, not just to the Jim Clark Museum. When you’re designing a museum, you don’t really want the kind of customer - who exist - who drives 200 miles to see the place, then walks out the door, gets into their car and drives 200 miles home, without seeing the rest of the town. As an architect, this is a really interesting opportunity to develop a new museum for Duns and for Jim Clark.

“What we’ve tried to do is make use of the existing listed building and the garage by building a lightweight glass box which will provide a new entrance for the facility.”

This would, he said, improve access for disabled visitors - there is currently a ramp to the front door, but then they must navigate a step.

The theory behind Ray’s design is that the museum’s structure would guide visitors through the pieces it holds, creating a ‘journey’ that matches the Jim Clark story.

Artists impression of the proposed expansion to the Jim Clark Mueseum

Artists impression of the proposed expansion to the Jim Clark Mueseum

He explained: “People can come in and be taken on a journey through the building, from the trophies to the memorabilia, all the history of Jim’s life.”

Another aim of the plan is that it is adaptable. Of the glass design Ray said: “The new exhibition space will be lit from above. That means that it will be a great space for showing photos and pictures. We also want to create a little back office space, so that there’s somewhere for staff to put together a bite to eat and so on.

“That will help to extend the hours they can make use of the space, if they want to able to offer guests wine and snacks at evening events. One of the key aspects of the glass box is that it can be lit up at night, so people driving past can see it, and it will attract new visitors.”

As you can see in the artist’s impression, that large glass box is the focus of the design, showing off the most important exhibits - cars.

“That’s what we’ve been told by the Jim Clark Trust members, and his fans,” said Ray, “they want everyone to be able to see the cars.

“The one thing that nearly everybody who I speak to has wanted is the smell of Castrol,” he added, laughing, “and they thought that they couldn’t have that.

“But then I thought - what if we took one wall in the room showing the cars, and just whitewashed it, to give it the appearance of a 1960s garage? I also thought that pieces in the ‘garage’ could be crowdsourced from the local community and the thousands of people interested in Jim Clark from around the world.”