Anger at broken museum promise for Whithorn

MSP Alex Fergusson has slammed the government for its u-turn over loaning historic items to Whithorn Trust.

The Galloway and West Dumfries MSP has asked the cabinet secretary for culture to intervene after it emerged National Museums Scotland (NMS) has broken an agreement to lend the Carlingwark Hoard items which were unearthed at Castle Douglas, but which are housed in Edinburgh.

NMS has blamed a lack of time for staff to arrange loans and capital work on the broken promise but the MSP says this isn’t good enough.

He said: “Since 2011, the National Museum and Whithorn Trust have had an agreement that promised to see more key loans coming to Whithorn in coming years. Indeed, this year the Traprian Law Silver Hoard items have been displayed under this agreement.

“It does not say much for that policy that the Whithorn Trust, which has resurrected itself so successfully in recent months, is snubbed in this way by the very institution that has pledged to support it with an annual loan.

“The finest item to be excavated at Whithorn has to be the Whithorn Crozier – discovered in 1957 and dating back to the 12th century.

“Although there are many who believe that the Crozier should be permanently housed in Whithorn, and I am one of them, it is kept in the National Museum in Edinburgh.

“Quite simply, this is not good enough, and I have written to the cabinet secretary asking her to intervene and ensure that this agreement between NMS and the Whithorn Trust is upheld.”