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Shambellie House to close for good

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.

John Bevir has this report:

£20k funding for study into Shambellie House future

The Culture Secretary for Scotland, Fiona Hyslop, has announced £20,000 in funding for a study into the future of Shambellie House.

The study is being funded by the Scottish Government after National Museums Scotland announced that the Museum of Costume, based in New Abbey near Dumfries, is to close.

“I am keen that NMS helps to find a solution for the future of the site, working in conjunction with the Council. I expect them to take forward this feasibility study quickly.

“I understand that NMS is already committed to continuing to deliver a service in Dumfries and Galloway, by enhancing its programme of loans to local museums.

“However, I think it is essential that all possible avenues are explored to maximise the potential of Shambellie House and its contribution to the life of the local community."

– Fiona Hyslop, Culture Secretary


'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

Low visitor numbers blamed for museum closure

The National Museum of Costume based at Shambellie House, near Dumfries, will not re-open for business in the spring.

The closure of the museum comes as a result of the economic recession and falling visitor numbers.

The museum attracted around 10,000 visitors per year, and 5,000 to the shop, cafe and grounds.

The house was opened as a museum in 1982, and is owned by the Scottish Government.