PRIDE OF SCOTLAND; 'Facing Closure', the Museums and Galleries with Wealth of Treasure but Precious Little Cash
Foster, Kate, Daily Mail (London)
Byline: KATE FOSTER
MUSEUMS housing some of the nation ' s greatest treasures face closure unless they receive urgent investment, it was claimed yesterday.
The first audit of Scotland's historic collections has revealed millions of rare paintings, sculptures and artefacts on show and in storage at institutions across the country.
But the Scottish Museums Council, which undertook the stocktaking, found more than half of the museums and galleries suffered glaring deficiencies in their recordkeeping, storage, staff training and planning of disasters which could destroy precious items.
Its report also found serious problems with funding, staffing levels and accessibility - and warned that urgent action was needed to save the treasures for future generations.
The Scottish Executive originally commissioned the council to carry out the audit to gather an authoritative picture of the collections held across the country.
But following its findings, the body's director Jane Ryder said: 'There have been crises in a number of museums in recent years.
'If we do not address these issues we can expect new crises to emerge and, in extreme cases, museums to close.
National museums have relatively stable sources of funding whereas independent museums are much more vulnerable to external market changes such as the impact of foot-and-mouth disease on tourism.' She added: ' The staffing profile revealed by the audit is an issue of great concern and is simply not sustainable in the long-term if we are looking to maintain professional capacity in regional museums.
'Lack of capacity to develop and deliver effective education programmes is another key weakness. …