MSP Tavish Scott has been finding out about the challenges and future plans for Shetland Museum, during a visit to the Lerwick building yesterday.
He was invited as part of a series of visits organised by Museums Galleries Scotland, which supports over 450 museums and galleries. The hope is that MSPs will champion their local museums by experiencing first-hand their achievements and challenges.
Curator Ian Tait said the museum and archives were glad to welcome Mr Scott and had the opportunity to show him first-hand what they had been able to accomplish in the face of increasing financial pressures.
Dr Tait said: “Staff explained how expertise and partnership links can unlock funding for projects that continues to see a dedicated staff deliver a five-star graded service.
“Particular issues discussed with Tavish included bureaucratic challenges to the independent museum sector, and constraints on storage space for a growing collection.”
Mr Scott said it was always a pleasure to visit the “world-class museum and archives”, which had been such an invaluable asset to Shetland over the last nine years.
He said: “I recommend those who have not yet visited to do so. The collections brilliantly navigate Shetland’s past from our Neolithic beginnings to North Sea oil and gas. The museum’s archives are invaluable to anyone wishing to explore Shetland’s history in greater depth.
“It was extremely informative to be given the chance to meet with museum staff and to discuss the challenges they face along with their innovative plans for future. I am confident that Shetland Museum will continue to go from strength to strength.”
Museums Galleries Scotland chief executive Joanne Orr added: “[Museums] enhance the experience of visitors to Scotland and bring a positive economic impact. They connect people with their community.
“As difficult decisions are being made about budgets across the country it is vital that the true value of the sector is understood and that is why we have organised these visits.”