Scotland's smallest national museum, the national museum of costume in Dumfries and Galloway, is to be permanently closed because it is 'simply not sustainable'.
Shambellie House is run by National Museums Scotland who say it costs £220,000 a year to run and attracts just 10,000 visitors a year, which is less than 1% of the total number of visitors to Scotland's five national museums.
'The low number of visitors is simply not sustainable'
The National Museum of Scotland said that while it has been working hard to supplement its funding through reducing staff numbers, efficiency savings, growing earned income, and attracting donations and sponsorship, the financial climate remains very difficult.
“It is with great regret that we have taken the decision to close the National Museum of Costume.
"While this has been an extremely difficult decision for the Board of Trustees, we are clear that in the current challenging financial climate it is a necessary part of a range of cost savings which ensures the long-term future of our national collections.”
– Bruce Minto, Chairman, Trustees of National Museums Scotland,
“The difficult decision to close the National Museum of Costume has been taken after extensive consideration of all other options across National Museums.
"The low number of visitors to the site along with the high operational costs is simply not sustainable. In addition, the domestic layout of Shambellie House places limitations on it being used effectively as a national museum.
“We remain committed to delivering services to Dumfries and Galloway in partnership with the local authority and other stakeholders through the provision of loans, exhibitions and outreach programmes."
– Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director, National Museums Scotland
The future of a small costume museum in Dumfries and Galloway is the subject of a big debate tonight at the the Scottish Parliament.
National Musuems of Scotland say they need to close Shambellie House in New Abbey because of budget cuts.
Several local MSPs have been campaigning to save it.
They're supporting Dumfries and Galloway Council’s request for a 12-month extension before a final decision is made.
The council and other partners are looking at ways to boost profits and save the museum in the long term.
South of Scotland Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume said:
“To lose a museum of national importance would represent a serious blow to the region’s cultural activities which attracts 15,000 visitors each year. This could be severely damaging to this rural area’s local economy.
“At a time when Edinburgh’s National Museum has undergone a substantial investment programme, many people across Dumfries and Galloway will rightly be asking why Shambellie House is being put in jeopardy.
“Until a permanent solution has been found, I’m backing local calls for a twelve month period of grace. Closure must not be an option.”