Museum funds agreed

The Shetland Museum and Archives is to cost £1.15 million to run this year. Its funding was agreed yesterday by the SIC services committee despite concerns about funding difficulties experienced by the network of small museums and heritage groups.

The big museum and archives is meant to act as a hub, supporting its smaller satellites. Councillor Jonathan Wills said the hub policy was a good one but checks were needed to see that it was working. He said there was “considerable disquiet” because funding for some rural museums did not reflect the actual costs of running their premises.

He won agreement that the council would meet Shetland Amenity Trust and Shetland Heritage Association to iron out the problem by altering the so-called service level agreement which the SIC gets from the museum and archives in return for its £1.15m.

During the first full year of the museum and archives, from January to December 2008, it attracted 84,769 visitors. This year one of the highlights is set to be the return on loan of Gunnister Man from his long exile in The National Museum of Scotland. His preserved body and clothes, believed to be from the 17th century, were found in a peat bog in Northmavine in 1951 and taken to the capital to be displayed.

For the archives, one of the big projects for this year will be an investigation into making its catalogues available on the internet.

The museum and archives has 29 full and part-time staff plus volunteers and several more employed privately to run and manage the cafe restaurant franchise. As well as the prize-winning main building the service runs the Böd of Gremista, the Croft House Museum at the Ness and a museum store on Staney Hill.


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