Galloway MP Richard Arkless has written to Gordon Rintoul, the Director of the National Museum for Scotland, to request that the Galloway Viking Hoard be displayed in the new Kirkcudbright Art Gallery, close to where it was discovered. The treasure has been described by experts as “one of the most significant Viking hoards ever found in Scotland”.
The Galloway Viking Hoard includes more than 100 gold and silver items including armbands, a Christian cross, brooches and ingots. It is thought that the the Hoard was deliberately hidden over 1,000 years ago and has been described by experts as “one of the most significant Viking hoards ever found in Scotland”.
In his letter, Mr Arkless asks Dr Rintoul to consider the added value that displaying the find in its ‘spiritual home’ of Kirkcudbright will have and he insists that the new Kirkcudbright Art Gallery, which will have a specialty designed exhibition space to accommodate the hoard, is the best and most natural choice for the artefact for at least the first two years of its display.
Commenting, Mr Arkless said: “The Galloway Viking Hoard is a find of national significance and I understand why the National Museum of Scotland is so interested it however it is my very firm view that it must initially go on display in Kirkcudbright.
“Dumfries and Galloway would benefit enormously by being home to such a significant exhibit. Edinburgh has many wonderful attractions but I think it would be wrong for the Viking hoard to become just another one of the many attractions in Edinburgh, when it could be Dumfries and Galloway’s Crown Jewels. Our region deserves and needs to be given the opportunity to exploit the benefits of its own archeological finds.”
The future of the hoard will be decided in March following two crucial meeting, the first is the Dumfries and Galloway Council Communities Committee on the 7th March where it will be decided how best to take forward the council’s bid. The second meeting is the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel on the 23rd March which will make the final decision on the future of the hoard.
Mr Arkless added: “It seems to me that the National Museum of Scotland has a duty to the Nation of Scotland and not just to a building in the centre of Edinburgh. 2017 is Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and the Scottish Government made a commitment to work towards increasing attractions and tourism in the south of Scotland. Agreeing that the hoard could reside in Kirkcudbright for the first couple of years would go a long was to meeting that commitment by the Scottish Government.”