Page last updated at 19:06 GMT, Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Scotland's National Museum of Costume debate

Labour MSP Claudia Beamish has called for a rethink on the potential closure of the National Museum of Costume in Dumfries and Galloway on 21 November 2012.

National Museums of Scotland says high costs and reduced funding mean it has to take action at Shambellie House.

Concerns about the fate of the museum emerged last month.

The National Costume Museum is a five-star rated tourist attraction which provides nine jobs and attracts 15,000 visitors each year.

South of Scotland list MSP, Ms Beamish who led the debate expressed concern at Holyrood about the proposal by the National Museums of Scotland to close the collection at New Abbey.

She said the decision by NMS was the "budgetary equivalent of sacrificing a limb" and she pointed to the importance of museums outwith the central belt.

Ms Beamish stressed the importance of Shambelie House to the local economy and called for a 12 month rethink so all options could be considered and a business case be put.

She added: "we want to see time for reflection to consider all the options, a wider consultation would allow different models to be explored, there is cross party support on this and it is now time to turn those warm words into action".

Constituency MSP for the area, Conservative Alex Fergusson added his weight to the cross party concern, he said NMS needed to "think again" and suggested that a period of grace would be constructive.

Closing the debate for the government, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop stressed that no final decision had been taken by the National Museums of Scotland board.

Ms Hyslop said she recognised the importance of the museum to the area but said the low visitor numbers could not be ignored at a time when NMS were trying to "live within their means".

In her final remarks to MSPs she applauded the constructive nature of the cross party efforts to secure a future for Shambelie House and said she welcomed "creative solutions" on the way forward.

The National Museums of Scotland board will meet on 23 November to discuss further the future of the costume museum.

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