Paisley Museum could undergo a £15m revamp if Renfrewshire Council proposals are given the green light.
The Grade A listed building is more than 130 years old
A feasibility study will investigate the council's plans to upgrade the Grade A listed building and move the Central Library to the Town Hall.
A council spokesman said it would initially apply for lottery funding to finance the project.
It is hoped the refurbishment would boost declining visitor numbers and improve disabled access.
Under the plans, a new 175-seat theatre could be built within the museum and a cafe and bar may also be included.
Page/Park, the architects who designed the Lighthouse arts venue and the Centre for Contemporary Arts, both in Glasgow, have been brought in by the council to investigate the feasibility of the proposals.
The council hopes the revamped museum could become Paisley's very own Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
Kelvingrove attracted more than three million visitors in the first year after its refurbishment in 2006, making it Scotland's top visitor attraction.
Cllr Eileen McCartin said: "We might not take Kelvingrove's crown but we can certainly create a facility that will put Paisley on the map as a cultural centre."
She pointed out that the museum's collection of shawls and weaving equipment had recently been identified as being of significant interest to the nation by the Scottish Museums Council (SMC).
That makes it one of only 27 recognised collections of national significance across Scotland.
"The Paisley Museum is a wonderful building but it is in desperate need of repairs and improvements," Cllr McCartin said.
"What we need is the space and the conditions to show the treasures we have to their best advantage and that is what these plans are all about providing.
"Increasing visitor numbers at the museum and relocating the Central Library will help revitalise the town centre."
The museum, which was designed by the Glasgow architect John Honeyman, opened in 1871.